A year ago, Ohio Valley Mountaineer fans flocked to Oglebay Park's Pine Room to greet coaches Dana Holgorsen, Bob Huggins and Mike Carey.
There was an undeniable buzz in the air, particularly regarding the football program which was a few months from beginning play in the highly-regarded Big 12.
With the likes of Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey returning, prospects for BCS title contention seemed viable.
At Oglebay, the guest list at last spring's Belmont-Mountaineer Athletic Club event included legendary coach Barry Switzer in addition to former Sooners' all-American and all-Pro running back Barry Sanders.
Switzer delighted the large turnout, spinning a number of amusing tales before declaring Holgorsen's 2012 team, "pre-season favorites to win the Big 12."
Five games into the season, Switzer's projection was looking good. The Mountaineers had just recorded a wild 48-45 victory over Texas at Austin.
Furthermore, Smith was now being touted as Heisman frontrunner. Austin and bailey, meanwhile, were off to flying starts.
Then came WVU's week six visit to Texas Tech, unfortunately, the beginning of a long, painfully grueling five-game losing streak. And one which effectively exploited the Mountaineers' most glaring weakness.
At Lubbock, the Red Raiders inflicted 49-14 punishment. A week later, back in Motown, Kansas State and QB Colin Klein sent WVU reeling to a 55-14 loss on national TV no less.
Ensuing setbacks to TCU, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma resulted in a 5-5 record and ended all thoughts of contending for a Big 12 title.
Though the Eers salvaged wins over Iowa State and Kansas to become bowl eligible, WVU's postseason bid culminated in an embarrassing 38-14 Pinstripe Bowl loss to Syracuse.
Without Smith, Austin and Bailey (declaring early or the NFL draft) , what does 2013 have in store for Holgorsen and company?
A few answers may be forthcoming as Holgorsen is scheduled to attend next month's 18th Annual B-MAC Scholarship Dinner, scheduled Wednesday, May 8 at Oglebay's Wilson Lodge.
BMAC also expects Huggins to make an appearance in addition to Carey and Athletic Director Oliver Luck.
According to BMAC officials, St. Clairsville's Dominic Prezzia, a member of the Mountaineers' wrestling team and former BMAC scholarship recipient has been invited to the May 8 fete in addition to Jonathan Kimble, the school's Mountaineer mascot.
Banquet tickets are $50 per person and includes admission, meet and greet opportunities with coaches and a full dinner.
Additionally, BMAC is conducting a fundraiser and will raffle off two tickets to a pair of 2013 WVU football games.
Coming to Morgantown this fall are William & Mary, Georgia State and Big 12 opponents Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas and Iowa State.
For additional banquet info or to inquire about purchasing a table, contact BMAC officials John Budinscak (740) 695-2944) or John S. Marshall (695-4262.
IT should be interesting to hear Huggins discuss the recently-concluded Mountaineers' hoop season. West Virginia finished 13-19, including seven consecutive losses to end the season.
It was a rare losing campaign for Huggins whose 2012-13 club rarely developed team chemistry...
THE Mountaineer women fared somewhat better under Carey, though the Lady Mountaineers blew a double-digit lead against Oklahoma in Big 12 Conference tournament play before falling by a single point. The Lady 'Eers did qualify for March Madness but were beaten by Delaware in opening round play.....
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