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WVU basketball: Browne has surgery, Beilein pays off debt

MORGANTOWN -- Wednesday was a day of gain and loss for West Virginia's men's basketball team.

The Big East Conference granted Pat Forsythe a medical redshirt while fellow freshman Gary Browne was said to be sidelined for two to three months after surgery on his right ankle.

Former Coach John Beilein finally settled his debt to the university and sent his fifth and final payment on his $1.5 million buyout for leaving the Mountaineers for the University of Michigan in 2007.

The 6 foot, 11 inch Forsythe played in just seven games this past season before sitting out the rest of the schedule with a stress fracture in his right ankle. He averaged 2.1 points and 3.4 rebounds in 11.4 minutes per game.

Forsythe, who was arrested last month for petit larceny after allegedly giving a stolen wallet and debit cards to former teammate Tommie McCune, will have four years of eligibility to play four seasons.

The ankle injury was his second in as many years. Forsythe broke the same ankle in the postseason of his senior year at Ohio's Brunswick High. The year before, Forsythe, who didn't play organized football until eighth grade and didn't play AAU basketball until the summer before his senior year, missed time with a fractured L5 vertebrae in his junior year.

Browne, from Cupey, Puerto Rico, had his operation to fix what the university called "internal damage." The 6-2 Brown was bothered during the season and surgery was previously scheduled for after the end of the season.

He played in all 33 games and started three times while averaging 6.5 points and 3.9 rebounds. Browne was second on the team with 98 assists.  

Beilein was 104-60 in five seasons with the Mountaineers and led the team to the Elite Eight in 2005, Sweet 16 in 2006 and NIT championship in 2007. Upon leaving for the Wolverines, he successfully argued against the liquidated damages clause in his contract that was intended to make him pay WVU $2.5 million for leaving his contract early.

Beilein and his lawyer, Wheeling's Robert Fitzsimmons, who later worked with WVU in its legal battle against former football Coach Rich Rodriguez, effectively stated the Mountaineers hadn't suffered the full amount of damages because it quickly hired Bob Huggins, which they believed would invigorate both the fans and ticket sales.

The dispute, which never went to court, was settled when the two sides agreed Beilein would make five annual payments of $300,000.

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at or 304-319-1142. His blog is at


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