WVU Caravan arrives in Parkersburg Thursday

PARKERSBURG – It’s not every day fans of a particular team get to spend some quality one-on-one time with the head coach, members of his staff or the school’s director of athletics.

But that’s the oppoetunity local West Virginia University fans will have on Thursday when the West Virginia University Coaches Caravan makes its annual stop at J.P. Henry’s Restaurant.

The list of those who will represent WVU at the two-hour gathering, which gets underway at 6 p.m., reads like a Who’s Who of Mountaineer Sports. It includes head football coach Dana Holgorsen, recently hired senior associate head coach Tom Bradley and director of football operations Alex Hammond.

Not to be outdone by the football program, the Mountaineer basketball coaching staff will be here en masse. In addition to head coach Bob Huggins -who never has missed the Parkersburg stop on the Coaches Caravan -assistant coaches Billy Hahn and Ron Everhart also will be in attendance.

Those who would like to discuss the state of Mountaineer sports with Director of Athletics Oliver Luck also will have a chance to do so as he will represent the athletic department.

Serving as Master of Ceremonies for the evening will be The Voice of the Mountaineers, long-time WVU announcer Tony Caridi.

It’s traditional for several coaches of the non-revenue sports to be in attendance. A complete list hasn’t been confirmed but Mountaineer rowing coach Jimmy King plans to make the trek to Parkersburg.

It’s no wonder Parkersburg is one of the most popular stops on the annual tour. For the $50 price of admission, fans not only get to meet and spend some personal time with WVU’s coaches, but the staff at J.P. Henry’s puts on a big spread of food as well as provides free beer and a cash bar.

Eric Fitzer of Intra State Insurance, who has headed up the local caravan for several years, notes that the Mountaineer coaches always are quite willing to have their pictures taken with fans and to sign autographs.

As always, there will be drawings for door prizes for WVU merchandise and tickets.

One of the reasons the Parkersburg dinner is one of the most successful stops on the caravan tour is the number of local sponsors.

This year’s spnsors include:

  • Gold level: Precision Design, Chas Shedd Company, Intra State Insurance, Rob Noland, Tim Akers, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of West Virginia. Bond’s Drug, Snyders of Berlin/Pierce Snack Food Corp., Dr. Phillup Mathias, Family Carpet/Hughes Properties and West Virginia Paving.
  • Blue level: Woodcraft, Gary Lombard (a member of the 1975 Peach Bowl team), Bosley Rental. Cutlop Warner, Chancellor Insurance, D.J. Wingrove & Sons Jewelers, Hornor & Harrison, DeBarr Trucking, Winans Santitary Supply, Dave Fleming, Tom Joyce (St. Joseph’s Ambulance Service), Certified Appraisals – Craig Reidel and Hocking Fence.

Tickets are availabe at J.P. Henry’s and the Intra State Insurance office on Rosemar Road.