By Mickey Furfari
For the Times West Virginian
With West Virginia University nearing the end of its first year as a member of the Big 12 Conference, some people are speculating where it could — or should — have been competing in intercollegiate athletics.
Mark Hose, a WVU graduate who now lives in Columbia, S.C., is among those folks. So is Donald Strimbeck, also a university alumnus who is a prominent resident of Cassville. Strimbeck and Hose are fraternity brothers, though several years apart in age.
Hose, who grew up in Charleston, is a son of the late Dan Hose, one of the Mountain State’s best known and most highly respected sports writers and a longtime personal friend of mine.
Mark, who did not follow in his father’s footsteps, is sports-minded nonetheless and remains keenly interested in how WVU teams fare in football, basketball and baseball.
He also keeps posted on the yet-to-be-settled turmoil involving the WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Like most Mountaineer fans, both Strimbeck and Hose are well aware that WVU no longer can be really considered an eastern school. It’s likely to find few major athletic teams from the East willing to schedule for non-conference meetings.
So Mark Hose had a dream. While it can’t possibly ever become a reality, he put together what he thinks would be an “ideal” — if not “perfect” — athletic conference.
“To make it simple, I will just name the divisions the North and the South,” Hose explained.
“The North would consist of West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Connecticut, Rutgers and Maryland. The other division (South) would be made up of Notre Dame, Miami, South Florida, Louisville, Virginia Tech and Cincinnati.
“Football would have eight conference games per season using the same format as the SEC.”
Do you have any thoughts about any such league were it in existence?
Mark Hose does:
“This way fans would actually give a damn about who (the Mountaineers) were playing and could afford to go to a game if they wanted to.
“There would be great rivalries and strong teams for football and basketball. The new Eastern Conference would be as strong as any league that has ever been formed.”
Hose noted that “it’s a shame” this is only a dream conference and not a reality.
“It would be excellent, and tickets would sell like crazy,” he ventured.
While not a sports writer, Mark learned well from his father, Dan Hose. He was sports editor of the United Press International for the state in Charleston for several years. Dan had the same role with the Parkersburg News at the age of 19.