Richard ‘Richie’ Nau (Class of 1947)
For the first time the Wheeling Central Catholic High School Athletic Hall of Fame has embraced a father-son combination. While Rick Nau, former Maroon Knight and Old Dominion University basketball standout was inducted into the inaugural Central Hall of Fame class last fall, selected this year was his father Richard ‘Richie’ Nau, a standout player from the era of the 1940s.
Richie Nau was a two-year standout on Maroon Knight basketball teams that were in the midst of winning seven straight West Virginia Catholic Tournament championships. Coached by another Central Hall of Famer, Jim Foti, Nau was the leading score on the 1947 team that included such standout teammates as Eddie Coyne, Bob ‘Banger’ Schmitt, ‘Fearless’ Frazier Joe DeNardo, Benny Kouski and Buck Burke. In 1947, the Maroons (now Maroon Knights), finished with a 16-4 record that was capped by a 50-42 victory over Clarksburg St. Mary’s in the Catholic tourney final. Nau and teammate Schmitt were selected to the five-man all-tournament team. For the season, Richie scored 211 points, leading his team in scoring. He had 29 points in the three Catholic tournament games that included victories over St. Augustine of Grafton, Huntington St. Joseph and the tournament host Clarksburg St. Mary.
His high school accolades also included back-to-back All-City First team and All-Ohio Valley Athletic Conference laurels in 1947.During his senior year he also was selected as the captain of the All-City and All-OVAC teams. All-City at the time was a highly prestigious honor as Central’s rivals included Linsly Military Institute, Wheeling, Warwood and Triadelphia.
Following graduation, Nau turned down a scholarship offer from the legendary Cam Henderson to play basketball at Marshall University. Instead, he lent his extraordinary talent to play in numerous independent league and tournament events throughout the Ohio Valley, the state of West Virginia and beyond. At one point during the late 1940s, Nau’s, Roger’s Jewelers and Kelly Mike’s-sponsored teams compiled a 73-6 record. Along with those championships, Nau earned numerous All-Tournament and MVP honors while playing with and against some of the best players throughout the tri-state area.