If you ever have been on a date (and, I am guessing that many of you have), you understand just how important first impressions can be.
If that be the case then first-year offensive coordinator/head-coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen and his assistants Robert Gillispie and Shannon Dawson had to leave Thursday night's Mountaineer Athletic Club's Coaches Caravan at J.P. Henry's Restaurant with a warm and fuzzy feeling.
"This is really the first time I have been anywhere in the state other than Morgantown," explained Holgorsen. "Between evaluating film from last year, recruiting and getting ready for spring drills, I haven't had time to see much of the state."
But, that hasn't stopped him from hearing about the area.
"I have had several coaches tell me that Parkersburg is a great place to visit," continued the offensive coordinator. "From what I have seen since I walked in, I now understand why they speak so highly of this place."
A feeling echoed by each and every coach who stepped up to the podium to speak in front of the packed house.
"You really feel the excitement the moment you walk in," said Dawson, who will coach the wide receivers this season. "I bet I've talked to 20 or more people and they all said that Parkersburg was the best place to visit for these kinds of events."
In its ninth year at its present location the event has raised more than $120,000 for the MAC, which funds scholarships for student-athletes at WVU.
"It looks as if we raised another $12-15,000 for the MAC," said local event organizer Eric Fitzer. "We may not raise the most money of the events held around the state, but you talk to the coaches and they will tell you that they like coming to Parkersburg more than any other site."
And, why not?
In addition to the thousands of rabid fans that attend Mountaineer athletic events on a regular basis, the football program contains four players that call Parkersburg home-Josh Jenkins, Matt Lindamood, Cody Nutter and Michael Molinari-and former Big Red Brandon Rader just concluded his final wrestling campaign with WVU.
"I don't think I've missed coming to Parkersburg since I took over," explained men's basketball coach Bobby Huggins. "I really love coming over here and spending time with the fans. There are some real Mountaineers here and they aren't afraid to show it."
Although the veteran coach did have one minor complaint with those in attendance.
"Holgorsen's first time here, he gets a standing ovation," said Huggins. "My first time, I have some lady in the back asking me if I was going to recruit the same kind of criminals that I recruited when I was at Cincinnati."
It would be the first of many times the audience would break out in laughter. And, when it wasn't laughing, the blue-and-gold clad crowd was cheering.
Receiving the loudest roar was Holgorsen when he talked about WVU's season opener against instate rival Marshall.
Contact Jim Butta at firstname.lastname@example.org