The Times West Virginian


November 3, 2013

FSU vs. WVU exhibition game great opportunity for fans in region

In the past decade, when current Michigan basketball coach John Beilein held the same job at West Virginia University, he recalled his playing days at Wheeling College in the 1970s.

Wheeling, Beilein remembered, met Division I Duquesne in Pittsburgh and dropped a close decision.

Just days later, the Cardinals returned to West Virginia Conference play, visited Fairmont State at the armory in Fairmont and were destroyed by coach Joe Retton’s Falcons, Beilein noted.

The respect remained decades later.

One of the preseason exhibition games Beilein scheduled for the Coliseum while at WVU was against the Falcons.

On Monday, thanks to a close relationship between WVU coach Bob Huggins and his former assistant and second-year Fairmont State University coach Jerrod Calhoun, the teams will meet for another exhibition at the Coliseum.

Game time is 7 p.m., with the ticket price at $10, and it’s a great opportunity for fans in North Central West Virginia to get a look at a couple of teams just days before they are to start their 2013-14 regular seasons.

“I worked with coach Huggins for a long, long time,” Calhoun said. “Our relationship is unbelievable. We worked it out when I got the job here. He thought it’d be great for our university and for our kids and program.”

The top priority for the teams, of course, is preparation for the season and playing as well as possible.

Last season, the Falcons, in Calhoun’s first year, were able to win 23 games, up from eight the previous season, and compete in the NCAA Division II Tournament, ultimately falling to West Liberty.

FSU senior Brendan Cooper says this year’s team is different, and the Falcons have even loftier expectations.

“We have a brand new team,” Cooper said. “If we play well against them, it’ll set us up for the rest of the season.”

As WVU transitioned to the Big 12 a year ago, Huggins suffered through his first losing season since his first year as a coach at 13-19.

Huggins, though, boasts a career record of 723-286. 133 of his wins have come while at WVU. Huggins led the Mountaineers to their first-ever Big East championship in 2010. In the same season, the Mountaineers went to the Final Four. The trip to the Final Four was WVU’s first since 1959. Teams coached under Huggins have made it to the postseason 27 of his 31 seasons, including five times out of the first six years with WVU. He ranks third in total victories among active Division I coaches.

Huggins, who like Calhoun is working with a number of new players, is eager to see the Mountaineers consistently shoot well.

“We make shots in practice. You would think in some point in time it would translate to doing it in games,” Huggins said. “I don’t think anyone would say Terry Henderson or Eron Harris isn’t a good shooter because they did it (last year).”

For Fairmont State, Monday’s outing — which will be televised on ROOT Sports — is an opportunity to build an even stronger following, a goal that Calhoun has stressed since taking the job.

“We’re trying to brand our program and build our program,” Calhoun said. “I think the Big 12 fans, of course the West Virginia fans, a lot of those fans come down and watch our games, too. They really enjoyed what they saw. So hopefully when the Mountaineers aren’t playing, they’ll drive down and see us.”

These are proud basketball programs that have fallen just short of national championships — the Falcons by three points to Central State of Ohio in 1968 and the Jerry West-led Mountaineers by a single point to California in 1959.

The scoreboard will show a winning team about 9 p.m. Monday. At the same time, there will be thousands of other winners — the fans who take advantage of the opportunity to watch the teams play.

Text Only
  • Why should IRS employees having compliance issues receive rewards?

    There are certain issues that happen in our government that occur with no rhyme nor reason and probably raise the eyebrows of many thousands — let’s make that millions — of Americans who wonder about the same thing. It certainly corrodes the faith of the American people.

    April 25, 2014

  • Laws to keep mudslinging to minimum can stife free speech

    By nature, and by profession, we do not like lies. As journalists, we’re truth tellers. Or at least we attempt to get at the truth through research, attribution, documents and comments from people on either side of an issue.
    Sometimes it ends up with “telling lies from both sides,” as a crusty reporter once mused a handful of years ago.

    April 24, 2014

  • COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay

    Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.

    April 20, 2014

  • The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings

    During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.

    April 20, 2014

  • Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated

    Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
    During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.

    April 18, 2014

  • Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives

    A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
    Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
    The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.

    April 17, 2014

  • State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary

    Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
    For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
    Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better

    When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
    So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.

    April 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable

    That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
    But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
    Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!

    April 13, 2014

  • Decision to be an organ donor can save lives

    Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
    So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.

    April 11, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads