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WVU football coach Neal Brown to keynote Boy Scouts dinner

Neal Brown

VIENNA — The head football coach at West Virginia University will be the virtual keynote speaker at the annual Kootaga District Boy Scouts of America Mid-Ohio Valley Leadership Dinner on May 18 at Grand Pointe Conference and Reception Center in Vienna.

Neal Brown will appear at the dinner, a major fundraiser for the Boy Scouts, through a virtual connection because of the university’s pandemic restrictions preventing in-person appearances, said Michael Cidor, Boy Scout field representative for the Kootaga District.

Last year’s dinner also was impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

“We’re pretty excited,” Cidor said. “This is a good opportunity for us to get our dinner back in swing.”

The evening will start with a silent auction at 6:30 p.m. with the dinner to follow at 7:15 p.m., Cidor said. Organizers are soliciting contributions for items for the auction, which in previous dinners have included sports memorabilia, items from WVU and Marshall University and donations from local businesses.

While the audience will see Brown from several large screens, cameras will be installed around the floor of the dining hall so he also will see the audience and communicate with it, much like a Zoom meeting, Cidor said.

“Hopefully we will be able to do a question and answer session,” he said.

Organizers next week also will begin contacting residents and businesses about obtaining sponsorships and donations for the dinner, Cidor said.

A dinner ticket for one person is $150, then there are levels of sponsorships, staring with the Scout Sponsor level at $275 to $1,000. The Bronze Class is $1,000 which includes four seats. Silver Sponsor is $1,500 and includes a table. Gold Sponsor comes with a table with preferred seating for $2,500. Platinum Sponsors get preferred seating and special recognition. Dinner Sponsors for $10,000 will be featured in advertising and the program booklet, a headline on the banner, two preferred tables and recognition.

The menu will include choice of beef or chicken, including salad and dessert, Cidor said. Because of the pandemic restrictions, attendance is capped at 180 people at the dinner, Cidor said.

Brown came to WVU in January 2019. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and played football at UMass. Brown is a native of Kentucky where he was an all-state wide receiver at Boyle County High School and the No. 2 receiver in state history.

Brown was head coach for four years at Troy University before WVU. The Mountaineers ended the 2020 season 5-4.

The Kootaga District covers the counties of Wood, Wirt, Jackson, Ritchie and Roane counties. The Buckskin Council represents 40 counties in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia.

Jess Mancini can be reached at jmancini@newsandsentinel.com.

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