Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

March 26, 2014

Holgorsen, Beamer slated for coaching caravan stops

BLUEFIELD — The West Virginia Coaches Caravan will return to Mercer County for a 44th consecutive year, continuing its tradition as the longest continuous fundraising function of the Mountaineer Athletic Club.

West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen, men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins and women’s basketball coach Mike Carey are expected to attended when the Coaches Caravan stops for a third straight year at the Chuck Mathena Center in Princeton on May 20.

"Returning to CMC was an easy choice for our committee," said Jim Ferguson, the chairperson for the West Virginia Caravan to Southern West Virginia. “This year will mark the 44th anniversary and I can't think of a better venue to celebrate than at the Chuck Mathena Center.”

According to Ferguson, the committee meetings related to the Coaches Caravan were once held at the University Club inside the West Virginia Hotel in Bluefield. Several of the original members are still involved, including the ‘godfather’ of the group, Bob Raines, and the ‘RAT’ pack consisting of Joe Graham, Frazier Miller and Richard Ammar.

Ferguson said that Bobby Bowden, who coached at West Virginia before building his legendary career at Florida State, made the first trip to Mercer County in May of 1970 and met with a collection of alumni at the Fisher Trenton Pharmacy.

“The event grew to over 1,000 and was held at the National Guard Armory in the 80's,” Ferguson said. “It is a lot of fun and the atmosphere is absolutely wonderful. Mountaineer fans are some of the most loyal and supportive fans you will find.”

Ferguson is quick to point out the success of West Virginia athletics, and the hope for improvement in the football and men’s basketball programs.

“Our football and men's basketball team have undergone some rebuilding and we are optimistic about next season,” Ferguson said. “Our rifle team just won its 16th national championship and the women's basketball team won a share of the Big 12 conference championship.

“West Virginia baseball, soccer and volleyball teams are competing with the best in the nation.”

Ferguson added that new Mountaineer Mascot, Michael Garcia, will also attend, and will visit local schools and speaking at a Rotary Club meeting prior to the Coaches Caravan that night.

“The Mountaineer nation has plenty to be excited about and this year’s event is expected to be a sell-out,” Ferguson added.

Tickets for the event are $50, and will include a meal prepared by Chef Rick and the staff of Fincastle on the Mountain. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Ferguson at (304) 920-4333.

• • •

Virginia Tech fans will get their own opportunity to celebrate Hokies’ athletics next month at Fincastle Country Club.

The Bluefield/Tazewell Hokie Clubs will sponsor Virginia Tech’s Orange and Maroon Caravan, which will stop at Fincastle, on Wednesday, April 30.

Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer is slated to be the guest speaker.

Tickets are $25 apiece and $15 for children. A social hour begins at 5:30 p.m., with dinner following at 6:30.

For more information, contact Lisa Clark at 304-922-8544.�

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