Mom’s Day Thoughts

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Happy Mother’s Day from The Booth!

I’m not sure where this post is going to take me, but on this Mother’s Day I want to recognize all the Moms out there who are the unsung heroes in their children’s lives as it relates to sports. I lost my mother several years ago, but I will always have the memories of how she contributed to any successes I might have had in athletics.

My mom never played catch in the backyard or taught me how to make a layup or the difference between a post pattern and a down-and-out. What she did do was make sure every Fall was to take us to Coaches’ Supply in downtown Martinsburg for a new pair of Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers–blue for the North Junior High Blue Devils, and later, orange (or black) for the Martinsburg High Bulldogs. I think they were a whopping $9.99. Early Spring meant a trip to Coaches’ for a new baseball glove, if needed, tube socks, and a colored-sleeve baseball undershirt to match our Little League team color. When it became cool to wear baseball sanitary socks (those thin white socks that go over your tube socks and under your “stirrup” socks), she didn’t blink. In August, my mom made sure we had everything we needed for Midget League football–pads, helmets, practice pants–so we would look our best. There was one season I played a whopping 26 seconds, but I was the best-dressed backup quarterback in the league!

While we’re on the subject of fashion, thank you, mom, for always making sure we had clean uniforms for every game. While some kids came to the games looking like unmade beds or “Pigpen” from the Peanuts comics, our “unis” were always washed and pressed.

As a member of the MHS Golf team, there probably was more than one time that I left my clubs at home on match day. My mom was always the one who had to lug them into the main office, no easy task I’m sure. I probably took those trips to school for granted back then, but I appreciate them now.

Finally, I don’t think my mom ever saw me play baseball in person, but she never missed a game, thanks to The Martinsburg Journal. In those days, the Journal did detailed writeups of all the Little League, Senior Little League, and High School games, and she kept all the clippings. I still have some of those, and it’s fun to relive the small glories I might have had on the field.

Whatever role your mom may have played in your athletic life, if she’s still around, give her a call or pay her a visit today and say “thanks.” I wish I could do that today.

Until the next visit from the Booth…Moms Rule!

RW

 

Putting A Bow On The Bloom

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Greetings from The Booth!

Just some guy stuff today, as we recap the 97th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, which is also the 100th anniversary of “The Bloom.” (There was no Festival during the World War II years). The theme of the Apple Blossom Festival this year was “Locally Grown, Globally Shared,” which means that The Bloom is something that is uniquely ours in the Winchester/Shenandoah Valley area, but we open our hearts to the world every late April/early May. Over the years, it’s become a 2-week “pink & green” party. Like everyone who partakes, I have my own routine and traditions, and I’d like to share the past week with you.

My SABF began the week before last, with the Sponsor’s Reception, which is a gathering of those who represent businesses and organizations that embrace The Bloom. But it feels more like a family reunion. It’s the one time a year when I see some people I don’t see any other time of the year. It’s held at the beautiful George Washington Hotel, which is also celebrating it’s 100th anniversary this year. Great venue, great event, and a nice way to kick off the Festival.

Wednesday night was the Veterans Dinner/Show, a relatively new event, which is held at the spacious Wilkins Center at Shenandoah University. The American Bombshells, a modern-day spin on The Andrews Sisters, were fantastic, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the place when they sang “God Bless The USA.” I met some new friends at my table, and was honored to be part of an evening to say “thank you” to those who have served our country.

Thursday and Friday are “play days” at Apple Blossom for me. It’s become a Thursday Bloom tradition for me to have dinner in Old Town Winchester with my wife, and our usual spot is the Piccadilly Public House. Thursday night is the calm before the storm in OTW, as thousands converge on the walking mall on Friday, and Piccadilly is elbow-to-elbow. Not so on Thursday, as we were able to get a table outside, and have a nice meal of a bucket of soda pops, an appetizer, and a couple of pub burgers. Not to mention some nice quality time taking in the vibe of Apple Blossom.

Friday is “guy’s afternoon out” at the Bloom, with the third annual Denny Crane Pub Crawl (an unofficial Bloom event), so-named by yours truly and co-founding member & local musician Ted Barker, because we are both William Shatner fans. The late-morning started with a sandwich and beverage at the British-themed Union Jack, and after a short walk on the mall, back to Piccadilly in time to beat the afternoon crowd. The group Raised On Analog was smokin’, and I even got an unexpected shout-out from the stage from the band (thanks, Adrian!). Alas, the great day ended with me trying to get out of Winchester before things got crazy with the Firefighter’s Parade.

My 2024 Bloom concluded with the Apple Blossom 10k run on Saturday. Over 1000 runners had a cool, damp morning to navigate the 6.2 miles through Winchester–perfect conditions for the participants, not so much for the fans who lined the streets to cheer us on. After a slow first mile, I found my groove and was able to run a respectable 55:28. Not bad for a 64 year-old who ran a half-marathon the week before, and might have been a bit overserved on Friday afternoon. It was nice to end The Bloom on a “runner’s high.”

So, another Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival is in the books, and Bloom Hangover, which is a real thing, has already begun to set in. Until next year, I’ll have some great memories to cherish, and will be ready to make some new ones in 2025!  Happy Bloom from The Booth!

RW

 

 

The Long Run

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Greetings From The Booth!

There’s an old Dick Van Dyke Show episode where Dick’s character, Rob, is pleaded to by his wife Laura (played by the great Mary Tyler Moore) not to go skiing with his buddy Jerry. Rob goes anyway, and gets injured. To make a long story short, at the end of the episode, Rob says the only part of his body that isn’t hurt is the corner of his lip.

That’s exactly how I feel today, after yesterday’s Third Battle Of Winchester Half Marathon. At almost 65 years of age, I posted a respectable 2:06:32, which was good enough to win my age group (I won’t tell you that there weren’t many runners in the 60-plus category–a win is a win). But I’m paying the price today. Running 13.1 miles takes a toll on the body, and when we get older, things just naturally hurt. Still, I’m pleased with the effort, as I was able to shave 12 minutes off of last Summer’s time on the same course.

Although not a full marathon (I’m not quite ready for the 26.2 yet), the “half” is not only a physical challenge, but a mental one. There are going to be several points in that distance where you’ve got to fight off that little voice that says things like, “Oh, go ahead and quit. No one is going to care.” Or, “stop and walk for a bit. You’re almost 65, everyone will understand.” There were a few of those moments yesterday, and I was able to battle through them and complete my third half-marathon. I’m sure there will be more, but today, I don’t want a rematch.

What got me through yesterday’s race was the tremendous support I had from my friends at Dakota’s Dream Animal Rescue, a small no-kill organization based in Winchester, that relies totally on donations and volunteers. Alicia, Ken, and the folks from Dakota’s Dream came to my rescue several years ago when I found a litter of cats in the woods near my home, and last year I wanted to repay them by running my first half-marathon to benefit them. Thanks to lots of generous people, we raised $4300 to help a really cool cat named Liam (who is living the good life these days).

This year, I ran to benefit a special needs kitty named Lily, and my “fan club” from Dakota’s Dream came out to the race to cheer me on with posters and loud voices, on a wet, cool morning. That support helped get me through the aches and pains yesterday, as we were able to raise approximately $3000 for Lily and Dakota’s Dream. So, thanks to the good work that Dakota’s Dream does, and thanks to those of you who donated to the cause over the last several weeks. If you want to continue to help this fine organization please visit https://dakotasdream.org or visit them on Facebook.

Now, where’s the ibuprofen?

Until next visit from The Booth…Go Lily!

RW

House Money

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Greetings from the Booth!

After a year’s absence from the postseason, The Washington Capitals are back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs starting today (4-21) as they take on the New York Rangers in a best-of-seven opening-round series.  By virtue of winning their last 3 games, the Caps snagged the final NHL Eastern Wild Card spot, while the Rangers are the league’s President’s Cup Champion and the number-one seed overall. On paper, this seems like a one-sided matchup. But, hockey isn’t played on paper (it’s played on ice, thus, the skates), and in this week’s VFB, I’ll make my case as to why the Capitals have a chance to advance past the first round and upset the mighty Rangers.

The Capitals are Playoff-Ready.  The Caps have been in “playoff” mode for a while now, while the Rangers have cruised to their lofty top-seed. Since “selling off” at the trade deadline and going into rebuild mode, the Capitals caught fire. Their young players meshed with remaining veterans like Tom Wilson, TJ Oshie, and Alex Ovechkin, and despite a near-fatal losing skid near the end of the season, found a way to stay in the Wild-Card race and get into the playoffs. Every game down the stretch has been a de facto playoff game for the Caps, while New York now must turn that switch back on starting today. The Capitals, under new coach Spencer Carbery, are playing tight, physical, playoff-style hockey, and that could serve them well against New York.

Goaltending. You can ride a hot goaltender a long way in the playoffs. Case in point, the Caps’ 2018 Stanley Cup postseason, in which Braden Holtby posted a 16-7 record, a .922 save percentage, and recorded 2 consecutive shutouts in the Eastern Conference Finals. Not to mention his stop of an open-net shot against Vegas in the Finals, now known as “The Save.” This year, the Caps will rely on Charlie Lindgren, who didn’t even begin the season as the starter. Lindgren has been nothing short of sensational down the stretch. In the Capitals’ 2 season-ending must-wins against Boston and Philadelphia, Lindgren stood tall, allowing just one goal in the Caps 2-0 and 2-1 wins.

The Great Eight. The Capitals have Alex Ovechkin, arguably the best hockey player of all-time (we can have that discussion another time), and this gives the Caps a chance against anyone.  Barring any unforseen circumstances, in a little over a season, Ovechkin will become the NHL’s all-time goal scorer. After a slow start this season, “The Great Eight” has played more like his old self down the stretch. When he’s not scoring, the Capitals’ Captain has been doing the little things, like blocking shots, and the younger players are feeding off his “leadership by example.” He may not be the Ovechkin of old, but as that saying goes, “great players are not great all the time, but great when they have to be.” This may be one of the last chances Ovechkin has at a Stanley Cup, and that makes him dangerous.

I rest my case, your honor. On paper the Capitals have no chance against the Rangers, but these are the NHL Playoffs, where a hot goaltender, a superstar on your side, and a break here and there could make for an interesting series. The Caps are playing with house money. Time to “Rock The Red!”

Until the next visit from The Booth…ALL CAPS!

RW

 

 

 

 

Rooting For The Old Guys

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Greetings from The Booth!

It’s Masters Sunday, and on this beautiful day, there are plenty of things I should be doing on my property instead of watching golf. The James Wood Touchdown Club delivered my annual 20 bags of mulch yesterday, and and army of leaves remains from the Fall. Not to mention the disheveled condition of my deck. But, as I try to explain to my wife (to no avail), “it’s The Masters!” She just doesn’t get it.

To those of you who are “unwashed,” The Masters is the first “major” tournament of the professional golf season. It is the perfect convergance of the time of year, the importance of the tournament, and the venue. Augusta National in the Spring is one of the most beautiful sights in golf, and the famed green jacket that goes to the Masters champion is one of the most coveted prizes in golf.  It is, as they say, a tradition like no other.

Every year, I like to root for the old guys at the Masters. I’ve been doing this ever since Jack Nicklaus, at age 46, won the 1986 Masters, his sixth and final green jacket. For many years after that tournament, I always hoped against hope that the Golden Bear could repeat the feat. There were several times that Jack showed flashes of his younger self, but could never seem to put 4 rounds together at Augusta and shock the golf world.

Next in line was Freddie Couples. Like me, Couples was born in 1959. I was at Congessional Country Club in DC in 1983 as a member of the media when Freddie won the 1983 Kemper Open and have been a fan ever since. A 1992 Masters winner, Couples contended for the green jacket in 2006, and would have been the oldest Masters winner had he pulled it off that year. “Boom Boom,” as he’s called, has been plagued with back problems throughout his career, but last year at age 63, made the cut at Agusta. This year, Freddie struggled with his back and missed the cut.

My old guy of choice the last several years has been Tiger Woods. I’ve never been a huge Tiger fan, but I do acknowledge that he is one of the top 2 golfers of all-time (I still think Jack is the best, but we can have that discussion another day). In recent years, Woods has had more surgeries that the “Operation” board-game guy, and has only played sporadically. At 43, Tiger won the 2019 Masters, a comeback story for the ages. This year, at 48, Woods will not win the Masters (his tournament ended at the time of this post), but did set the record for most consecutive cuts made at 24. Tiger will never be the player he once was, but his very presence at Augusta makes us believe he can do it one more time.

And speaking of old guys, this will be the final Masters for broadcaster Vern Lundquist, who will be forever linked with Nicklaus’ 1986 Masters win. Today’s TV broadcasters should take a lesson from Vern, who understood that it’s about pictures, not words. And if you listen very close this afternoon during today’s final round of the Masters, you might hear the words “Yes Sir!” ringing through the Georgia pines.

Until the next visit from The Booth…Old Guys Rule!

RW

 

Tidbits

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Greetings from The Booth!

With so many things happening out there in the sports (and “sports entertainment”) world, I thought I would do one of my occasional “tidbits” VFBs this time, with some random thoughts…

As I’ve written many times, the cream usually rises to the top in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, and sure enough, two nunber-one seeds will do battle in tomorrow night’s Championship Game. It’ll be Purdue versus UConn out in the desert for all the marbles, and a contrast in styles, with the Boilermakers’ 7-foot-4 Zach Eady against a high-scoring Huskies’ offense. Should be fun, but you can tell me about it Tuesday, because for some reason, tip-off isn’t until 9:20 pm. Why not something more reasonable, like 8pm?

This weekend marks the annual extravaganza known as Wrestlemania, this time it’s number XL. I was a big fan of pro wrestling in it’s 80′ and 90’s heyday, but I couldn’t name you five current wrestlers if you threatened to suplex me off the top rope. I do know that The Rock has returned to the WWE for Wrestlemania XL, which should create plenty of buzz.

Maybe The Rock needed a paycheck. You might think that if you saw the opening weekend of the UFL, of which The Rock is a part-owner. The UFL is the latest attempt at Spring football, and is a merger of the XFL and USFL. The Rock made an appearance on the mic at one of the opening games last weekend and thanked all the fans who made the UFL possible–all 128 of them. In all seriousness, I’m not sure the stands were half-full, and the challenge for the camera crews was avoiding shots of empty seats. I love the DC Defenders, but it may be time to give up on the idea of post-NFL football, although I think the league will make money because of it’s TV deal.

Finally, the Washington Capitals are picking the absolute wrong time to spiral downward. After basically going into “sell” mode and dumping longtime players like Evgeny Kuznetzov, a funny thing happened. The Caps clawed their way into playoff contention, even grabbing the eighth and final Wild Card spot for about a week. Since then, the Capitals have, at the time of this blog, lost five in a row and are now on the outside-looking-in. Alex Ovechkin, who continues to close in on Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal mark, has tried to saddle up the team on his back, but he needs some help. In arguably the Caps’ biggest game of the year earlier this week against rival Pittsburgh, Washington wilted like a daffodil caught in an early spring snowfall. To have the playoff spot and lose it is disappointing, especially when the team showed no sense of urgency.

As for the Nationals, you can revisit my VFB from last week. Bells, clocks, and whistles for the stadium are nice, but “Curly W’s” ultimately put fannies in the seats. Unless you’re the UFL…

Can you smell what the Booth is cooking? Until next time…

RW

The Nationals Park Tour

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Happy Easter from The Booth!

It’s Easter Sunday as I write the latest VFB, a day that means hope and renewal for many. For baseball fans, this time of year also fills us with hope that “this could be our year,” no matter who we root for. Everyone is undefeated on Opening Day. But remember, the long baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint, and the best teams are the ones who can show consistency, stay injury-free, and weather the occasional losing streaks over a 162-game schedule. The cream usually rises to the top, but right now most of us are saying, “why not us?”

The baseball season usually begins in February with the arrival of pitchers and catchers to Spring training. It began in earnest for me this past Monday with the Media Day tour of Nationals Park. I’ve never taken part in this event before, but this year I, along with my sports broadcasting partner and fellow Sports Dog, Ryan Rutherford, decided to head to DC and take the ballpark tour.

Walking out on the lower concourse and seeing the immaculate outfield grass and perfectly smooth infield took me back to my very first major league game at old RFK Stadium, where my beloved Senators played in the late 60s through early 70’s. The sound of the baseball smacking into leather, the sight of the bright green turf, and the smell of ballpark food were all part of a sensory overload on the sunny but cool late-March morning.

The tour started out with the Nats showing off their upgraded high-resolution scoreboard. This year, even on the brightest sunny day, fans will have no problem seeing the scoreboard, and there will be newly-added hitting charts and info to add to the fan experience. Along with the improved scoreboard, there is also a new LED light display, complete with red, white, and blue lights which I can’t wait to see at a Nationals’ night game.

We were then taken through the various nooks and crannies of the stadium, where we heard from several Nationals’ officials about ticket plans, souveniers, special promotional days, and such. But the best part of the Media Day tour was saved for last–the food. The Nats have added some new ballpark concessions this year along with the tried and true favorites, and we had the pleasure of sampling some of those (think of Costco on steroids) on Monday.

I especially enjoyed the shrimp tacos and crabcake sliders. The Korean hot dogs were interesting, as were thre calamari rings. However, when I take in a game or two this season, I will probably revert to my favorite ballpark snack–peanuts in the shell.

All in all, a great day, and many thanks to the Washington Nationals for their hospitality. Now, if we can just speed that rebuild up a bit…

Until the next visit from The Booth, GO NATS!

RW

 

Bracket Bustin’

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Greetings from The Booth!

This is arguably the most exciting weekend in sports, even if you are not a fan of college basketball. All of our cynicism about NIL, the transfer portal, and our feelings about the changing of college athletics gets put on the back burner for a while as the NCAA Basketball Tournament takes center stage. As I’ve said before, the cream usually rises to the top in the later rounds, but the real surprises happen in the first weekend of play.

How’s your bracket looking so far? As we enter Sunday’s second round play. I’m a respectable 32-8 overall, including a 7-1 day yesterday. I’m not sure where that puts me in the ol’ office pool, but as they say, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. So, as we wrap up this first weekend of the Big Dance, here are some randon thoughts and observations…

If you’re looking for upsets, always start with the 12 versus 5 natchups. Of the four 12-seed versus 5-seed games this year, there were 2 upsets (both of which I called correctly). Grand Canyon took down St. Mary’s 75-66. The 30-4 Antelopes from the Western Athletic Conference will now face 4-seed Alabama in the second round and if the Tide is looking ahead to the Sweet Sixteen, we could have another upset today. The other 12-5 “upset” was the area’s own JMU Dukes’ decisive 72-61 win over Wisconsin. JMU raced to an early 18-5 lead and never looked back. I don’t have the Dukes taking out Duke today, but watch out. JMU has a number of scoring options in their lineup, and plays pretty good defense.

UVA is an embarrasment. The Cavaliers, one of the last teams to sneak into the NCAA Tourney, were shown the door by Colorado State in one of the so-called “First Four” games. In that 67-42 blowout loss, Virginia scored only 14 points in the first half. I said a few weeks ago that UVA had done enough to get into the tournament, but in retrospect, the teams that felt they were snubbed at the expense of Virginia were justified in feeling that way.

I felt going into the NCAA Tournament that Kansas was vastly overrated, especially with some late-season injuries. But who saw the 4-seed Jayhawks being ousted by 13-seed Samford (and Son)? Apparently, Kansas overlooked the talents of Fred, Lamont, Grady, and company and got sent to the junkyard of upset victims. In the words of Redd Foxx’ character in the 70’s sitcom, “Elizabeth…this is the big one, I’m comin’ to greet you!”

Finally, my Final Four? I have UConn, Baylor, Houston, and Gonzaga , with the Cougars winning the whole thing in the Championship against the Bears in an all-Texas Final. As I said earlier, the cream usually rises to the top in the later rounds, and all of the above four teams are solid, top-notch programs who so far have avoided any early upsets. But, the weekend ain’t over yet, so watch out for some bracket-bustin’ upsets today!

Until the next visit from The Booth…enjoy the March Madness!

RW

 

 

The Future Is Now!

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Greetings from The Booth!

Today is Selection Sunday, one of the most exciting days in sports if your college basketball team is going dancin’ (or you think they should be) in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. And most of us will fill out our brackets tomorrow and get ready for wall-to-wall basketball in the coming weeks. We’ll probably talk about that next week, but today I want to get away from college hoop and remember a glorious time to be a Washington Redskins fan.

The last few weeks have seen a bevy of personnel moves by new Washington Commanders’ General Manager Adam Peters. Peters has taken advantage of a surplus of salary cap money and brought to DC the likes of future Hall-Of-Famer Bobby Wagner, exciting linebacker Frankie Luvu, quarterback Marcus Mariota, and others who will dramatically transform this long-sorry franchise into potential playoff contenders as soon as next season.

We all know about the glory days of Joe Gibbs and Bobby Beathard, and what transpired with that great Coach-GM combo. But I want to go back even farther than that, because what happened this past 10 days with the Commanders reminded me of 1971.

In 1969, the great Vince Lombardi came to Washington and gave Redskins fans an all-too-brief glimpse of what could be. In his first and only season in DC, Lombardi molded the team into a unit that went 7-5-2, their first winning season in 14 years. There was much anticipation about the 1970 season, as things could only get better under the legendary “St. Vince.” Sadly, Lombardi would be diagnosed with cancer and pass away before getting to coach the 1970 season.

That season was a lost one, as the ‘Skins fell back into their losing ways. Shortly after that 6-8 campaign, George Allen was announced as the team’s new Head Coach and GM. Asked about his coaching philosophy, Allen would say famously, “the future is now,” and would proceed to trade away most of the Redskins’ draft choices in return for proven players, many of who were thought to be past their prime. Allen, a defensive-minded coach, brought in veterans like Jack Pardee, Myron Pottios, Richie Pettibon, Ron McDole, Verlon Biggs, and Diron Talbert, players that would turn the Washington defense from laughing stock into one of the NFL’s best.

Offensively, Allen brought in Billy Kilmer to backup Sonny Jurgensen, and it would be one of his best moves. Kilmer, once an agile, running-style quarterback, was now a potbellied journeyman who threw wobbly passes, but had something Allen loved–a fierce desire to win and an inner fire that burned to silence his critics. Kilmer would do just that over and over again in his time with the Redskins.

After an initial 9-4-1 season in 1971 , the “Over The Hill Gang” would post an 11-3 record and NFC East Championship in 1972, with Kilmer throwing 2 TD passes against the hated Cowboys in the title game at RFK Stadium. Over the next few seasons, Allen’s players would eventually get too old and Washington would have no draft choices to replace them with, but for a city starved for winning, that brief time would be a glorious one.

Fast forward to this week, and it indeed feels like “the future is now.”

Until the next visit from The Booth…HTTR!

RW

 

Bying(ton) A New Coach

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Greetings from The Booth!

It’s a great time to be a fan of the JMU Dukes. On the heels of an 11-2 season, which included a spot in the Armed Forces Bowl, the Dukes’ basketball team, at the time of this post, is 29-3 and 2 wins away from a Sun Belt Tournament Championship, which would insure them a place in the NCAA “Big Dance.”

On the other hand, these are not good times for WVU fans like me. In recent years, about midway through the football season, fans long for the basketball season to begin. This season, it’s been a complete one-eighty. The Mountaineer football team posted a solid 9-4 campaign (boy, would we love to have that Houston game back!), earning Neal Brown at least another season at the helm.

Meanwhile, the WVU basketball team has been an unmitigated disaster. The Mounties finished the regular season  at 9-21, and if optics are any indication, will be one and done in this week’s Big 12 Basketball Tournament. The season began unraveling before it even started, when former Head Coach Bob Huggins made inappropriate comments on various radio shows, and later was found drunk in his SUV on a Pittsburgh street, unaware of how he had gotten there. His resignation and subsequent transfers left WVU basketball in shambles. Assistant Josh Eilert was named interim HC, and although Eilert was dealt a bad hand, you can only ride that pony so far. He has been way over his head, and in recent games it appears his  players have quit on him.

With this lost season just about over, it’s safe to say that WVU Athletic Director Wren Baker already has some names in mind for the Head Coaching job, and one of them is surely JMU’s Mark Byington. He 47-year old Byington is at the top of a lot of the lists of Mountaineer fans and followers, and why not? After compiling a 131-97 record at Georgia Southern, the one-time Virginia Tech assistant has led the Dukes to a 79-35 mark, and has returned the Harrisonburg school to basketball relevancy.

Byington currently makes a mid six-figure salary at JMU, and with bonuses will probably make in the neighborhood of $650k this year. You can make a pretty good living in the Shenandoah Valley on that kind of income. But what coach wouldn’t want to try his hand with a brand name program in arguably the best college basketball conference in the country, the Big 12? Not to mention, make a seven-figure salary. In Mark Byington, WVU would get a bright young basketball mind who could turn the Mountaineers around quickly. And at just 47, he could be a long-term hire for West Virginia.

For Baker and Mountaineer fans, it’s time to “By” in and get this guy hired!

Until the next visit from The Booth…GO EERS!

RW