MORGANTOWN - As a young man, Dan Cavanaugh realized he needed to do some growing before entering the adult world.
To accomplish that feat, the Parkersburg High School graduate left his new home - West Virginia University - to spend a couple of years in the military.
"At the time, I had too many activities, but no lifetime goals," Cavanaugh said. "I left WVU for two years in the Army, but I never stopped being a West Virginian."
Photo courtesy of John Wickline
West Virginia University's first male all-America swimmer, Dan Cavanaugh, a Parkersburg High graduate, center, accepts his West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame plaque from WVU Varsity Club President Buddy Quertinmont, right, as athletic director Oliver Luck looks on during induction ceremonies Saturday morning.
The time away allowed the Brookville (Pa.) native time to grow and he returned to Morgantown to continue working on his degree as well as star for the men's swimming team.
Cavanaugh, a two-time NCAA qualifier, was honored for that commitment on Saturday as he joined former Director of Athletics Eddie Pastilong and five other former athletes in the 22nd annual WVU Hall of Fame induction class.
"Honored," said Cavanaugh, a retired sailboat yacht captain. "I really worked hard to get back to WVU. I am honored to get inducted into the Hall."
During his career in Morgantown, Cavanaugh was a two-time Southern Conference champion, winning the 100 (53.4) and 440 (4:53.2) freestyle races at the 1960 league meet. His mark in the longer race was a conference record at the time.
The two-time team captain in '59 and '60, set numerous WVU records: 100 freestyle (53.4), 220 freestyle (2:14.4), 440 freestyle (4:53.2) and tied the 50 freestyle (24.9) record.
Cavanaugh earned several honors at WVU, including the 1960 Morgantown Touchdown Club Minor Sports Athlete of the Year and the 1959 Fi Batar Cappar Honorary Minor Sports Athlete of the Year.
A 1960 graduate, he became a teacher and a coach, including spending a stint at the University of Miami (Fla.). Cavanaugh, who began swimming as a member of the YMCA at the age of seven, developed numerous All-American, including his three sons (Dan, Chris and Kevin).
He becomes the first male swimmer to be inducted into the Hall, joining female counterpart Kim Kaufman, who was inducted in the Class of 1999.
"I enjoyed my time at WVU. I coached for 25 years and I am still competing. But, the best was today. I love this place."
Joining him on the podium were Pastilong -who served as WVU's Director of Athletics from 1989-2010 -football players Bo Orlando and Ben Dunkerley, female soccer player Katie Barnes and men's basketball players Lee Patrone and Maurice Robinson.
Orlando was part of the 1988 team that posted an 11-0 regular season mark and played Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.
Barnes was WVU's first All-American in the sport and rewrote the Mountaineer record book during her tenure in Morgantown from 1998-2001.
Dunkerley was a standout offensive tackle for the 1951-52 team, earning second team Associated Press All-American honors in 1952.
Patrone was three-year letterman for the men's basketball team from 1959-61 and served as one of the team's captains in 1961.
Robinson, a native of Welch, played in 105 games during his career, averaging 12.4 points per contest. His 1,307 points places him 24th on the school's career scoring list.