The Times West Virginian


January 31, 2013

‘Unbelievable atmosphere’ should await Falcons tonight

When Jerrod Calhoun moved from West Virginia University to become Fairmont State University’s men’s basketball coach last year, he knew about the tradition of the proud program.

Joe Retton compiled a 478-95 record at the school before retiring as coach in 1982. He still lives less than a mile from campus and is no stranger to the program.

Retton’s exciting teams, before sports programming was available on television 24 hours a day, played to overflow crowds during the 1960s and 1970s at the old Colebank Gymnasium on campus and the armory. The atmosphere was electric.

Even before the 2012-13 season got under way, Calhoun anticipated building a strong, exciting team and having it play before large, enthusiastic crowds at the Joe Retton Arena in the Feaster Center. He, his staff and players made a strong presence in the community.

“I think it would mean we did an unbelievable job of bringing in good players, because I think any time you’ve got good players, people want to come watch them,” Calhoun said. “I think what Coach Retton did, he put such a good product out there that played so hard people came.”

He said that “we’ve got to win” to get fans truly involved in Falcon basketball.

FSU, despite playing only six home games so far, has indeed done its share of winning. The Falcons are 13-4 overall and 11-2 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, trailing only West Liberty, currently No. 3 in the nation in NCAA Division II, in the WVIAC standings.

Crowds have built as the season has progressed. Tonight, with the University of Charleston coming to town for a double-header starting with the women’s game at 5:30 p.m., FSU officials are hoping fans take things to another level.

FSU is hoping to fill Joe Retton Arena and become the first school in the WVIAC this season to draw more than 3,000 fans.

“We’re trying to have just an unbelievable atmosphere,” Calhoun said.

There are incentives on top of good basketball.

The game is being promoted as a “white out” with fans encouraged to wear white to the gymnasium. Free white T-shirts will be passed out to the first 1,500 fans. Students will also be treated to free pizza courtesy of Papa John’s starting at 6 p.m., and after the men’s game the Marshall Lowery Band will perform live.

“It’s a neat look,” Calhoun said of the “white out.”

“Penn State kind of started it, and we wanted to do it. Being a big game, I think it will create more excitement.”

“We truly want to create a home-court advantage for our players,” FSU athletic director Rusty Elliott said. “Both games should be very competitive, and we think it’s a great night to come out and experience Fairmont State basketball.”

Charleston’s men are 13-4 overall in fourth place in the conference with a 9-4 record after a 69-59 win at third-place Alderson-Broaddus on Monday to halt a two-game losing streak. Charleston is the lone team to defeat West Liberty, which was ranked No. 1 in the country at the time.

Fairmont State’s women are also in the running for the WVIAC championship. The Lady Falcons are 12-6 overall and 10-3 and in second place in conference play. Charleston is 10-7 in all games and 7-6 in the league.

We’d enjoy seeing the Falcons — both men and women — get the backing they deserve from their fellow students and townspeople during their championship drive over the coming weeks.

A great kick start will be a capacity crowd on campus tonight.

“Our crowds have been very good — they’re the best in the West Virginia Conference — and hopefully they just continue to get better down the stretch as we try to win a league championship,” Calhoun said. “It will create a great atmosphere and a great night. Hopefully people enjoy it and they come back.”

Text Only
  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

  • Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year

    It’s happening again.
    It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
    But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.

    July 17, 2014

  • County honors men who gave all in helping their community

    The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
    Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
    The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.

    July 16, 2014

  • State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less

    The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
    Let’s not do that again.

    July 15, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads