By Mickey Furfari
MORGANTOWN — Bill Stewart, West Virginia University’s second-year head coach, said he’s happy that a new two-year football series has been worked out with perennial power Louisiana State University.
So is Athletic Director Ed Pastilong, who hade the announcement Thursday afternoon. The two schools’ teams will meet in 2010 at Baton Rouge, La., with the return game in Morgantown in 2011. Definite dates have yet to be set for the games.
“We are pleased to add this exciting, high-caliber football program to our schedule,” Pastilong said. “This will be a great series and will give both fan bases an opportunity to see two of the best college football atmospheres in the nation.”
Pastilong said both games are expected to attract interest for network televising, just as the two-game series with Colorado did a year ago. The rematch with that school is set for Morgantown next fall and will be telecast by ESPN.
Stewart said, “We’re so excited for this opportunity to play a great opponent like LSU. That’s a real compliment to us. Those games should be well-attended. And I want to credit Mike Parsons, our deputy director of athletics. He came to me about this.
“Then ‘Coach’ Pastilong said, ‘I think we can make this work.’”
Pastilong said he heartily agrees with Stewart that Parsons deserves all the credit for this latest scheduling, as he has for booking major football and basketball games the past several years.
Les Miles is the Tigers’ head coach.
“I think all the credit belongs to Mike Parsons,” Stewart said. “Without him and his persuasive ability and his great knowledge of what’s going on out there in the world of scheduling and TV, this couldn’t have come about.
“Mike knows all that stuff so much better than anyone else. This is a great thing for West Virginia football, and we owe it all to him. He did a great job in arranging this series with LSU.”
Stewart pointed out that Parsons has a lot of of experience dealing with ESPN and the other networks as well as with other colleges and is widely respected for his knowledge.
Pastilong also revealed that West Virginia has scheduled three football home games with Liberty in 2009, Coastal Carolina in 2010 and Norfolk State in 2011.