By Jarrod Harris
Times West Virginian
Another step in the right direction.
Fairmont State University and the Cava family paired and presented the Fighting Falcon football team with a state-of-the-art locker room.
The locker room has been in the process for completion during the past four months, but the project is finally complete.
“The locker room is really impressive,” said FSU President Maria Rose. “It took about four months or so until we got the lockers ordered and the floor completed. Everybody’s certainly worked hard. When an organization or an individual like the Cavas step forward and say how they would like to help us with this project, that just makes it easier for the university to make sure that it happens.”
When walking into the locker room, you immediately notice the open space, along with a pair of plasma televisions mounted to the wall.
To the right stands lockers that are capable of holding everything a football player requires — helmet, shoulder pads, jerseys and personal belongings.
“The lockers are like no other that we have ever seen, and it’s great that the players have a spot where they can store their valuables, while knowing that they’re safe while they are practicing or playing a game,” said Rose.
With a new locker room, a new training facility, an immaculate scoreboard, a newer press box and artificial turf, FSU will be able make a recruiting push.
“It feels awesome,” FSU head football coach Mike Lopez stated. “I’m an alumnus here and played here. I dressed in the old locker room and it had its own tradition, but it was time for that to be passed along. For us to have this now, it’s more about our kids and our recruits. It’s just awesome; it really is.”
Lopez added, “For our current roster, we now have computer access, and we can put new plays on the boards. This is the first season that I’ve been able to meet everybody in the locker room at halftime because of the structure of the old one. Now, we can get everybody in the same locker room. For recruiting, for Division II, this is pretty good. We have everything going on for us.”
The last time FSU had a renovated locker room was in the early 1970s, so both Dan and Jim Cava came to the rescue.
“Coach Lopez came to us and told us how we needed a locker room done,” said Jim Cava. “My brother Dan and I toured the locker room and said, ‘Yeah.’ The last time it was renovated was in the ’70s, so we told them to come up with a plan and let’s get it done. Mike (Lopez) and (athletic director) Rusty (Elliott) came up with the plans and then presented the plans to Dan and me. We liked it and we put the money together to help them get it done.”
From there on out, other FSU supporters felt the urge to help the Fighting Falcon team during this time of need.
“On campus, Kenny Levick is the guy who was a student worker for Tom Tucker,” Lopez said. “Lovic was who created a couple of these different designs. The school did the whole project. Obviously the Cavas and the Hayes family from Fairmont Appliance and TV donated time, material and the television. Repair King, the Southern family, donated the big metal sign outside, which is beautiful. It’s a great day for Fairmont. Everybody came in and did their part. It was needed and recognized, and people took a step forward and said, ‘Let’s do it.’ Thank God because we’re blessed.”
Cava added about the contribution, “We wanted to see the football program to get to the next stage. One of the problem was the locker room. When they recruit students to Fairmont State, they bring them to the locker room, and it was a hard sell. We thought with a better locker room, it would be more inviting to the student-athletes and it would also be an easier sell to recruit new players. Now, where else would you want to play in the conference?”
With this new addition to an already growing Fairmont State football team, it will allow the athletes to feel less pressure during the games. Lopez will be able to adjust at halftime, and it will also create team camaraderie, since there is room for players to lounge during their off days.
“Our players and our coaches work incredibly hard, and they deserve a good place to get dressed and to watch game films,” said Rose. “So we’re incredibly happy that the Cava family stepped forward to help the university complete this project.”
Email Jarrod Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JarrodHarrisTWV.