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Musgrave lauded as he leaves Lottery director post

Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Chris Dorst  Longtime Lottery Commission Director John Musgrave holds up a retirement gift from lottery employees and friends after his last meeting of the commission Tuesday.
Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Chris Dorst
Longtime Lottery Commission Director John Musgrave holds up a retirement gift from lottery employees and friends after his last meeting of the commission Tuesday.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Closing out an unprecedented nearly 19-year career that saw the state Lottery grow into a $1 billion-a-year enterprise, retiring Lottery Director John Musgrave recalled Tuesday balking when then-Gov. Cecil Underwood offered him the post in 1997.

Musgrave, who had served in administrative positions in state and federal government, said he told Underwood that he was a longtime Sunday school teacher and served on the board of directors of his church.

“I said, “The Lottery?” Musgrave recalled. “The last thing I’d want to be associated with would be gambling.”

Underwood urged him to at least give it a try, Musgrave said, which led to a tenure that has lasted for more than half of the state Lottery’s 30-year history.

Tuesday’s Lottery Commission meeting became an often-emotional tribute to Musgrave, as commissioners, staff, and industry representatives recognized a career that, as Commission Chairman Ken Greear put it, was both “immaculate and unbelievable…

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