PARKERSBURG - The cast of characters won't be identical to the ones that showed up a year ago, but fans of West Virginia University will get a chance to rub elbows with the likes of Oliver Luck, Dana Holgorsen and Bobby Huggins when the Mountaineer Athletic Club's Coaches Caravan makes its annual trek to the Mid-Ohio Valley on Thursday, May 9.
"As always we are looking for a great turnout," explained Eric Fitzer, who serves as the event's organizer. "Actually, the idea for this event came from my wife."
The event's s can not be argued as it has drawn sellout crowds ever since it began more than a decade ago.
"Most of the success belongs to Tom and Sabrina Hughes," continued Fitzer. "They do a great job with decorations and the buffet is second to no one.'
As in the past the site will again be J.P. Henry's Restaurant located on W.Va. 2.
"Their staff is extremely friendly and they do a wonderful job of making everyone feel welcome. I've had fans from as far away as Maryland purchase tickets to this event because of how they are treated."
The Master of Ceremonies will again be Tony Caridi, who serves as the voice of the Mountaineer football and men's basketball team. However, the final list of coaches that will be in attendance is still in flux as Parkersburg native, and new offensive line coach, Ron Crook is among those not scheduled to be in town.
"Some of the coaches will be out on recruiting trips and the new baseball coach wasn't sure if his team would be playing in the Big 12 tournament that weekend," Fitzer said.
One thing is for sure, however, Luck, Holgorsen and Huggins will keep the crowd entertained as they take turns explaining how their programs will bounce back from sub-par 2012 seasons -the school's first in its new home, the Big 12.
Tickets can still be purchased at either J.P. Henry's or at the Intra-State Insurance office on Rosemar Road. Cost is $50 for single tickets and corporate tables are still available at $300 (blue) to $600 (gold).
Gold sponsors include Bonds Drug and Tailgators, Derow Enterprises, Family Carpet/Hughes Properties, Global Commodities, Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield of WV, Intra State Insurance, Snyder of Berlin/Pierce Food Company, SleddCo, WV Paving, Inc., and Tim Akers/Rob Nolan. Blue sponsors are American Clean Air, Chancellor Insurance, Cutlip Warner Development, DeBarr Trucking, Hornor & Harrison, Woodcraft Supply, Chapman Printing, D.J. Wingroves & Son Jewelers, Gary Lombard/1975 Peach Bowl Team, Tri State Roofing, Winans Sanitary Supply, Astorg Motors, St. Joseph Ambulance Service and Craig Riedel/Certified Appraisals.
In addition to funding scholarships for WVU student-athletes, Mountaineer Athletic Club members play a pivotal role in the enhancement, construction and maintenance of first-class facilities and in the establishment and operation of key services and support functions for the athletic department.
All monies raised from the event will go to support the MAC.