Continuing on with our 100 day countdown to WVU’s season opener against the Alabama Crimson Tide, we have reached day 51, the number once worn by WVU defensive end, Fran Gleason.
Originally from Bradford, PA, Gleason played three full seasons for the Mountaineers, from 1975 to 1977. He recorded an astounding 217 career tackles (124 solo; 93 assisted), along with 5 sacks while playing for two different head coaches (Bobby Bowden and Frank Cignetti) during his time in the program.
In Gleason’s first full season on the team, the 6’3”, 210 pound defensive lineman played sparingly, recording only 17 tackles over the course of the campaign. The Mountaineers finished 8-3 in the regular season, good enough to earn the school a bid to the 1975 Peach Bowl. West Virginia went on to defeat the NC State Wolf pack in a classic 13-10 victory.
Gleason broke out as a star on the squad his junior season as he went on to record a career high 102 tackles during a dismal 5-6 season. The Mountaineer great also recorded 2 sacks, and 3 fumble recoveries during his first full season as a starter.
The 1977 campaign did not pan out any better for the Mountaineers as they went on to finish with another 5-6 record, and missed out on the postseason for a second year in a row. Gleason, however, was able to build off the individual success he had a year prior, recording 98 tackles, along with a career-high 3 sacks in his final season wearing the old Gold and Blue.
Fran Gleason graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management. Currently, Gleason is a financial services representative for Principal Financial Group in the Chicago metropolitan area.
All countdown profiles of numbers 100-52 are still available here at WVUPros.com.