MORGANTOWN — Merry Ann Nehlen, the former longtime first lady of West Virginia University football, died Monday night after a long illness. She was 81.
Nehlen, the wife of former WVU Coach Don Nehlen, died at home after suffering through a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
Don Nehlen and Merry Ann Chopson were married in 1958. They were called the holiday twins. She was born on Christmas Day 1937 and Coach Nehlen on New Year’s Day 1936.
She was at Don’s side when he came from Michigan to Morgantown after the 1979 football season. Nehlen would coach 21 years at West Virginia and win more games than any other Mountaineer coach. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame a few years after his retirement.
Merry Ann is survived by Don, two children, Danny (Janie) and Vicky (Jeff Hostetler), along with five grandchildren and great grandchildren.