Rally in the Alley

PARKERSBURG -Those attending this year’s annual Rally in the Alley on Thursday, May 29, will enjoy an added attraction as recently-hired Marshall University men’s basketball coach Dan D’Antoni will be one of the featured guests.

The Big Green Coaches Tour also gives Thundering Herd fans an opportunity to meet-and-greet with football coach Doc Holliday and softball coach Shonda Stanton in addition to Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick.

“When D’Antoni was hired it was an exciting time in Huntington,” Associate Athletic Director and Big Green Executive Director John Sutherland said. “That was one of the most exciting press conference I have ever been to, and I’ve been to several schools and a lot of places. It was truly a homecoming and an emotional press conference.

“He talks how he wants to bring back the fast break and winning games back to Marshall University. It’s a very positive atmosphere.”

The Rally in the Alley takes place from 6-9 p.m. in the back lot of North End Tavern in Parkersburg. Tickets are $30 per person. For more information, contact Marshall Big Green committee member Jane Graham at 304-428-4504 or NET owner Joe Roedersheimer at 304-428-5854.

Roedersheimer and his staff provide a tailgate style picnic.

“They have the best pineapple upside cake at this event,” D’Antoni said. “Joe Roedersheimer always makes sure I get a piece. We love going up to Parkersburg-it’s a good time. It’s like a family picnic in the backyard and that’s what we really enjoy about it.”

This year’s Big Green Coaches Tour made its debut the first two days of May in the North Carolina cities of Charlotte and Wilmington.

“We ran into people who had a background with D’Antoni because he’s been down in Myrtle Beach, S.C., area,” Sutherland said. “He has a lot of friends and even a former roommate from the Wilmington area. His son lives in Charlotte, so it was a great reception.”

Men’s basketball is not the only sport in town where Marshall University is concerned.

The football team is coming off a 10-win season and returns Rakeem Cato at quarterback.

“We had our best bowl game playing against our highest ranked opponent,” Sutherland said. “We have so many starters back, so there is a lot of enthusiasm for the upcoming season. We hope that translates into season ticket sales.”

The Herd softball team has been a model of consistency under coach Stanton. Last year, her ballclub won the Conference USA Tournament title and this past season lost in the finals.

“Shonda has 16 of her 21 kids who are freshmen or sophomores,” Sutherland said. “Her squad has always been successful, and they just keep getting better and better.”