Tony Caridi talks Mountaineer football at Boys and Girls Club fundraiser

Photo by Jeff Baughan Tony Caridi, center, and Jim Hayhurst, left, share a laugh and listen to a story before the start of Saturday’s Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg fundraiser at the Parkersburg Country Club.

VIENNA — Tony Caridi is a man of many stories on the subject of West Virginia University and its sports. He shared several as well as his thoughts about the upcoming football and basketball seasons Saturday at the Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg fundraiser at the Parkersburg Country Club.

An early estimate of the amount raised on the night was put at more than $27,000.

With the kickoff to the 2018 season opener against Tennessee 20 days away in Charlotte, N.C., Caridi will soon begin another year on the Mountaineer Sports Network with his pre-game show an hour before kickoff.

Early predictions have the Mountaineers in the preseason Top 20 in football and basketball.

Prior to the dinner, Caridi talked about what his week is like prior to kickoff in Morgantown as well as his pre-game show on Saturdays.

Photo by Jeff Baughan Tony Caridi, sportscaster for West Virginia University’s Mountaineer Sports Network and West Virginia Radio Corporation’s Metronews Radio Network, spoke at the annual Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg fundraiser at the Parkersburg Country Club on Saturday.

“On game day in Morgantown, I am up at 5 a.m. if there is a noon kickoff,” he said, ” and I am there at the stadium three and a half hours, at 8:30 a.m., before kickoff. I go on the air at 11 a.m. for the noon kickoff.”

Preparation for the following week’s game begins the day after.

“There’s no showing up at the stadium and just start talking,” he said. “I start putting little pieces of information together which could be used for stats on Sunday and start looking at the opposing team as to what they do. I am looking at rosters and Monday start memorizing their names as I walk my dog early in the morning. Then I start adding the biographical notes and have it printed by Friday and start looking to see what else to add and subtract. In the meantime, I’m doing the taping of the coach’s show and continuing to gather information for Saturday.”

Throw all that together and it makes for a busy week, but Caridi also prepares for the week by watching tape of the week’s opponents. That begins with a Tuesday session.

“I want to be able to put names with numbers of the opponents,” he said. “I want to be familiar enough with the opponent that when I see a player catch a pass, I can identify who it is as easy as if he was a Mountaineer. I want to say his name before Jeff Campbell tells me in my ear. Campbell is one of the spotters and he feeds me stats into my headset throughout the game.”

Caridi said the press box is a busy place during a game.

“There are two spotters working,” he said. “One for WVU and one for the opponents. There are a lot of moving parts.”

The grind of an away game is always a Friday departure according to Caridi, flying to where the Mountaineers may be headed. The flight back is immediate, he said.

“If it’s a day game, we may get back at midnight. If it’s a night game, that’s a 4 a.m. arrival.”

The Mountaineers begin their seventh season in the Big 12 and coach Dana Holgorsen begins his eighth season.

“West Virginia is one of two Big 12 teams playing two Power 5 non-conference games. Texas is the other,” he said. “West Virginia is playing both away. North Carolina State is going to be for real.”

Caridi thought while expectations are high for WVU and so is the amount of talent, he feels this team will have a great deal of character.

“Character will determine a lot about this team. You won’t know until things happen how much character this team has.

“A lot of teams reach a moment when the teams faces adversity and they overcome it or not. A team that overcomes it may think they are better than they actually and the confidence builds. This game is so mental. Overcoming adversity early can pay dividends the entire season,” he said.

“If everyone stays healthy, WVU can certainly live up to the preseason rankings. If not, then we saw what happened after quarterback Will Grier was hurt against Texas. It was a different team and season then. Injuries will happen. It’s football. It’s just who do they happen to and when.”