The Pride of West Virginia has a new director.
Cheldon Williams has been hired as the associate director of bands at West Virginia University, and in that position, he will serve as the director of West Virginia’s marching band.
He replaces Stephen Lytle, who resigned on May 1. Williams will start his new job effective Aug. 1.
Williams comes to WVU from the University of Texas, where he has been a graduate teaching assistant for the Longhorn Band. He’s also worked with bands at New Mexico State, J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs, Florida and Cypress Bay (Fla.) High School. Williams earned both a bachelor’s and master degree in music education from Florida State, and a doctor of music arts from Texas.
Besides directing the Pride of West Virginia, Williams will also conduct the University’s other athletic pep bands and its symphonic band. In addition he’ll teach courses in the School of Music and will assist director of bands Scott Tobias in administration of the WVU Bands program.
Williams is the 19th director in the 119-year history of WVU’s marching band, starting with Walter Alexander Mestrezat, who served as the band’s director from 1901-37. West Virginia had just three directors from 1971-2016 – Don Wilcox (1971-97), John Hendricks (1998-2004) and Jay Drury (2005-16) – but has had two directors in the past three years – Tobias (2016) and Lytle (2018-19). Now Williams takes over.
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A familiar bowl destination for the Mountaineer football team has a new sponsor and a new name.
WVU has participated in a bowl game in Orlando three times in the past 10 years, though each had a different name. It was involved in the 2010 Champs Sports Bowl, the 2016 Russell Athletic Bowl and the 2018 Camping World Bowl. Previous versions of the bowl were also held in Miami under the names MicronPC.com, Carquest and Blockbuster, and WVU participated in two of those – the Carquest in both 1995 and 1997.
Now that bowl is going to be called the Cheez-It Bowl. It will still be played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando in late December and will continue to match up teams from the ACC (or Notre Dame) and the Big 12 Conference. Notre Dame defeated Iowa State, 33-9, in that bowl game last year.
No matter what the game has been called in its 31-year history, the Mountaineers have not had any success there. They’ve lost all five times in some variation of the bowl, whatever the name, falling to South Carolina (24-21) in 1995, Georgia Tech (35-30) in 1997, N.C. State (23-7) in 2010, Miami (31-14) in 2016 and Syracuse (34-18) in 2017.
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Shea Campbell, the former Mountaineer linebacker, will extend his college football career for one more season.
A Morgantown High grad, Campbell spent five seasons as a member of the WVU football team. Originally a walk-on, he did not see any game action in his first three years at West Virginia, but then became a key contributor at linebacker his final two seasons. He played in 22 games combined in 2018 and ’19, starting seven of them, and had 80 tackles, 11.5 for loss, three sacks and one interception in that time.
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from WVU in multi-disciplinary studies last December.
After five years with the Mountaineers, Campbell would not be eligible for another season in the Division I ranks, unless he got a waiver from a sixth year, which is rare and usually only granted to those student-athletes who have lost two or more years to injury, which Campbell did not.
But Division II eligibility rules are different, providing a student-athlete 10 semesters in which to play four seasons. Because Campbell apparently was not enrolled for classes this past spring, he still has another semester of eligibility remaining at the D-II level and thus could play this fall for a Division II school.
Fairmont State is reportedly interested in Campbell and certainly other D-II programs will be as well.
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The Big 12 Conference announced its 2019-20 Sports Persons of the Year this week.
Texas basketball player Andrew Jones was selected for the men’s award, while Oklahoma State soccer player Jaci Jones won the women’s title.
The Sportsperson of the Year Awards began in 2000-01 to annually recognize student-athletes who displayed an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship, community service and academic achievement. This year’s winners were selected by a media panel.
Andrew Jones was diagnosed with leukemia in January 2018 and underwent treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “AJ1” (a moniker symbolizing Andrew’s fight in his recovery and progression forward) took to social media in the early stages of his recovery to inform fans of his progress and to inspire others going through similar battles (regardless of age and situation).
Jones re-joined the Texas basketball team for the 2018-19 season, but played in only two games, as he continued his chemo treatments throughout the year, completing his final treatment in September 2019.
Jones returned to the court full time this past season, and ranked second on the team in scoring (11.5 ppg) and third in assists (1.9 apg) and steals (23) in 26.6 minutes per contest, while hitting 38.3-percent (62-162) from three-point range. He played in all 31 of UT’s games (11 starts) and reached double figures in scoring 15 times this year, including a team-best six 20-point efforts.
Jaci Jones was a three-year captain for Oklahoma State and an exemplary student-athlete on and off the field. During the 2019 Big 12 Championship, Jones developed a special bond with a former Cowgirl soccer player’s daughter, who had lost her father. Jones and the Cowgirls team stepped in by providing autographed jerseys and giving the young girl and her teammates a VIP experience at the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City.
WVU’s nominees for the Big 12 Sports Persons of the Year were gymnast Abby Kaufman and diver Austin Smith.
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The Mountaineer Athletic Club, along with the WVU football team, will host the virtual 2020 Ladies Huddle, presented by Civil & Environmental Consultants, on Thursday, July 9.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Ladies Huddle will be a two-hour virtual event hosted by Tony Caridi.
It will include a reception, silent auction, opportunity to shop for officially licensed WVU apparel, a facilities tour, weight room demonstration, drills led by the WVU football coaching staff, chalk talk with coach Brown and an interactive Q&A session with the Browns.
“On behalf of the Mountaineer Athletics Club and WVU Football, we are thrilled to host the 2020 Ladies Huddle, presented by Civil and Environmental Consultants virtually,” said Assistant Athletics Director/Donor Relations & Administration Jamie Hall. “Due to COVID-19, we are having to change our format for this year, but promise it will be another fun-filled event to learn about Mountaineer football.”
Registration for the event is open to the first 250 participants at a fee of $75. Participants will have access to all the listed activities and also will receive a gift bag that includes a Ladies Huddle t-shirt and a $15 Kegler’s gift card. Registration for the Ladies Huddle can be done online at WVUMAC.com/events.
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West Virginia’s priority deadline for renewal of 2020 season football tickets is Monday, June. 1.
An extended payment option is available this year with three installments due over the course of the summer – June 15, July 15 and Aug. 17.
Previous season ticket holders can renew by calling 800-WVU-GAME or online at WVUGAME.com.
Those wishing to purchase new season tickets will be able to do so later this summer.