MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Jay Jacobs, who has been analyzing Mountaineer basketball games for nearly 50 years, has announced his retirement from the Mountaineer Sports Network.
Jacobs, 85, will be part of one final men’s basketball broadcast when the Mountaineers host St. John’s on Friday, Dec. 1. In addition, Jacobs will be recognized on the Coliseum floor during a timeout of the WVU-St. John’s contest. A replacement for Jacobs on the men’s basketball broadcasts will be determined at a later date.
“I want to thank West Virginia University for allowing me to be part of Mountaineer Athletics for nearly five decades,” Jacobs said. “To the fans who follow the Mountaineers, I just want to say, ‘I was a fan just like you, but I had a microphone in my hand.’”
The Morgantown native was initially hired by Paul Miller as a basketball analyst for MSN television in 1977, forming a three-way pairing with the late Jack Fleming and Woody O’Hara. He also did television work for Home Team Sports, Creative Sports Marketing and ESPN during Sun Belt Conference games before transitioning primarily to radio in the mid-1990s when he teamed with Fleming, and then with veteran play-by-play man Tony Caridi starting with the 1996-97 season.
“Jay’s love and passion for Mountaineer basketball will never be matched,” Caridi said. “He grew up following some of WVU’s all-time great players and then became a Mountaineer player. He was part of the ‘Golden Era’ of West Virginia basketball. Jay then used that passion and knowledge as a broadcaster for half a century. He had an absolutely amazing career and will always be part of West Virginia basketball.”
During his time broadcasting Mountaineer basketball, Jacobs has been on hand to describe some of the greatest moments in WVU basketball history, including eight trips to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, an Elite Eight appearance in 2005 and a trip to the Final Four in 2010.
In all, Jacobs was involved with 20 NCAA Tournament teams, not to mention the two appearances WVU made in 1959-60 when he was a player.
Through the years, Jacobs also did radio and television work for the women’s basketball program.
“I want to congratulate Jay on an outstanding career with the Mountaineer Sports Network,” WVU Vice President and Director of Athletics Wren Baker said, “As a player and announcer, he has been a part of some of the biggest and greatest moments in West Virginia basketball history. I know how much it meant to him to be inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in September, and I thank him for his analysis and service for parts of six decades to Mountaineer basketball.”
Jacobs is the all-time leading scorer and an all-state player at Morgantown High and was part of the Jerry West era at WVU – considered the “Golden Era” of Mountaineer basketball.
Following graduation, Jacobs coached four years at Union High in Benwood, West Virginia, and then several more at Thomas Johnson High in Frederick, Maryland, through the 1973-74 season when he left coaching for an administrative job in the Frederick County school system.
In 1996, he retired from his job as assistant principal at Ballenger Middle School to devote his full time to WVU basketball.
In addition to game broadcasts, Jacobs was also a popular contributor to the weekly basketball radio shows. During each season, the dedicated Jacobs faithfully made the two-plus hour, wintertime drive across the Maryland and West Virginia mountains to work basketball games and shows.
Jacobs was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame as a broadcaster in September 2023.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from WVU in physical education in 1961 and a master’s degree in secondary education with an emphasis in administration in 1962.
Jay and his wife, Bonnie, currently reside in Walkersville, Maryland. They have one son, John, and one daughter, the late Lisa Quick, plus four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.