Typically I make an early season trip to the Coliseum to take in a sneak peek of the West Virginia University basketball team. However, due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to make good on that yearly ritual. I’ve kept up with this year’s edition, but there isn’t anything quite like taking in a game in Morgantown.
This past Saturday afternoon, I had the opportunity to take in the first Big 12 conference contest of the season versus Oklahoma State. I joined 11,219 fans that watched the Mounties earn a lopsided 77-60 win. Not knowing just what to expect, I showed up early to beat the crowd about an hour before tipoff. I picked up my media packet and nestled into my seat to take in the pregame festivities. Diehard hoops fans love to take in the warm ups. It provides an opportunity to catch their favorite players preparing for battle while allowing a sneak- peek of the opposition and what they have to offer. The biggest addition to the early warm up session is a DJ that plays a mix of tunes that creates a more upbeat experience that sets a more electric feel in the building. For those traditionalists out there, don’t worry there are several offerings from the pep band sprinkled in to provide an old school feel. What would a WVU game be without Country Roads?
In the last several years, a highlight video along with an offering from current players, have helped to charge up fans just prior to the start of games. That trend continues this season and it really had fans fired up and ready for action.
Wins at the Coliseum, well that’s nothing new to this basketball program. Year in and year out, it is one of the toughest places for opposing teams to earn a victory. This one over the Cowboys was special to Mountaineer Head Coach Bob Huggins, as it moved him into a tie with Lou Henson on the all time NCAA list for 11th place (779 victories).
Speaking of wins, former Harrison County resident Mike Carey continues to make the area proud, as he became the all time winningest coach in WVU Women’s history. I’ve been a big fan of Careys since his days in Salem and it’s great to see his success continue. He is a no nonsense coach that expects things to be done the right way and in coaching you reap what you sow. Carey was honored during the game and was received with a thundering round of applause.
As if this wasn’t enough action for one day, the past WVU coaches and players were honored at halftime. They rolled out the carpet for the dignitaries and it was an opportunity to relive some special moments in Mountaineer basketball history. A pair of former players with area ties, Bud Nederson and Skip Kintz, were among those being honored.
A large deal of credit is due the University for their efforts to make the fan experience on game day one to remember. That coupled with one of the most exciting teams to watch in the country, make a trip to the Coliseum this season a must!
That will do it for now. Until next week…Take Care and God Bless!