Jan. 20, 1998

McCarthy's Place in Record Book has Stood for More Than 40 Years

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - It is perhaps understandable if Cavalier basketball fans of today do not remember the career of Bob McCarthy.

After all, McCarthy graduated from UVa 42 years ago, and has spent most of his time since then in California and out of basketball.

But one glance through the Virginia records books, and it is clear that those same fans are missing something if they do not know about McCarthy's exploits on the court.

Consider his accomplishments in 83 games in three varsity seasons at UVa:

*McCarthy left Charlottesville as the school's second all-time scorer, and still ranks ninth with 1,625 points.

*He trails only his running mate Buzzy Wilkinson with a 19.6 points per game career average and led the ACC with 53.1 percent shooting in 1995.

*Only Wilkinson and Barry Parkhill have scored more points in a single game for Virginia than McCarthy, who pumped in 42 against Clemson in February 1956.

Such were the halcyon run-and-gun days of McCarthy's career from 1954 to 1956.

"We were really a running team. We averaged in the 90's," McCarthy recalled from his office at Azko Nobel Chemicals near Los Angeles.

In fact, McCarthy and Wilkinson teamed for 51.8 points per game in 1954-55, the second highest rate for a duo on one team in the nation.

The problem was, the Cavaliers were giving up points even faster than they c,ould score them.

"We couldn't play defense worth a darn," McCarthy said with a laugh. "We had to run and gun. We had to do anything we could do because we did not have enough height to contend with teams like Wake Forest and North Carolina."

Still, it was more than enough to earn McCarthy a place of honor in the Virginia record books.

He averaged 15.9 points in his sophomore season, playing mostly guard. To address the height imbalance, he played forward the next two years, even though he was a comparatively short 6-2.

In 1955, he scored 19.7 points per game, which meshed nicely with Wilkinson's all-time ACC record of 32.1 points.

When Wilkinson graduated, McCarthy shouldered the whole load for the 1956 team, averaging 23.1 points for a squad that went 10-17.

"We weren't all that good," said McCarthy, who studied business at UVa. "But we sure had a lot of fun."

Following graduation, McCarthy served in the Air Force, where he played "very competitive" service basketball for three years.

"Remember, there were only eight NBA teams back then. The opportunities to play basketball once you left college were very limited," he said.

While stationed in Arizona, he landed a desk job in the service that took him into the field of human resources. McCarthy spent 31 years as a human resources administrator with an aircraft parts company before it was sold in 1990.

Now he runs the human resources department for Azko Nobel, a company that numbers 70,000 employees worldwide. Some 250 at the southern California site fall under McCarthy's purview for labor relations, employee benefits, and personnel policies.

There might not have been anything complicated about the offense McCarthy ran under coach Evan J. Male, but the same cannot be said about Azko Nobel. It manufactures fluid cracking catalysts to break down the crude in petroleum.

"That was quite a shift going from aircraft parts after 31 years," he said. "Fortunately, the human resources side is basically the same."