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West Virginia Director of Athletics Shane Lyons is hoping that members of the WVU football team will remember that making good choices can help them get back on the field this year. The Mountaineers need to follow the rules of the “new normal” by wearing masks when around others, socially distancing themselves when necessary, and avoiding public crowds, if they hope to play football in the fall.
West Virginia defensive tackle Darius Stills has been named the Defensive Player of the Year by Big 12 media writers. Stills had a breakout season last year when he led WVU in tackles for loss with 14.5, and had 47 tackles. He also tied his brother Dante the most sacks for the Mountaineers with seven.
The construction of Milan Puskar Stadium took a lot of political maneuvering and great leadership from West Virginia’s former Director of Athletics Dr. Leland Byrd.
For a second consecutive year, West Virginia has been predicted to finish eighth overall in the Big 12 Conference for the upcoming college football season. The Mountaineers finished the 2019 season with a 3-6 record in Big 12 play.
The West Virginia men’s basketball team has begun team activities. This comes two weeks after WVU announced a 14-day postponement when five players and one staff member tested positive for COVID-19. The Mountaineers are currently allowed eight hours a week of individual and team instruction. Normally by this time, the players would be well into their summer program, which includes open gym and learning opportunities with the coaching staff, but fear of the virus has hampered that and the individual skill development they would normally get during the summer.
There have been countless great games and memories over the past 50 years at the WVU Coliseum. Some of the greatest players, coaches, and teams have performed in the Coliseum, and through the years it has consistently ranked among the most intimidating college basketball atmospheres in the country. This year West Virginia will relive and celebrate the great history of the Coliseum.
Stadium College Basketball Insider Jeff Goodman listed West Virginia’s Larry Harrison among the top five assistant coaches in the Big 12 Conference. Harrison was with Huggins at Cincinnati from 1989 until 1997, and then he hooked back up with Huggins at WVU in 2008 after coaching at DePaul and Hartford, and a one-year job as a scout for the Washington Wizards.
The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) has announced the eighth annual Team Academic Excellence Awards. The West Virginia men’s basketball team was recognized by the NABC for a team GPA higher than 3.0 for the 2019-20 academic year.
West Virginia Athletics
Since testing began in June, a total of 518 tests have been administered at West Virginia. Positive test results since June total 41 with the breakdown per sport showing 28 in football, six women’s basketball players, just five for men’s basketball, one for women’s soccer, and just one staff member.
The West Virginia track and field team has been named a 2020 NCAA Division I Women’s Track & Field All-Academic Team by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Additionally, sophomore Myesha Nott was honored as an All-Academic Athlete.
This edition of the Mountaineer Insider Podcast gets you ready for the return of Major League Baseball on July 23. The episode features former West Virginia standouts Alek Manoah and Michael Grove, who are both currently part of the 60-man Major League player pools.
Around the Big 12
Oklahoma is a heavy favorite to claim a sixth consecutive Big 12 football championship this fall. The Sooners were selected first in the league’s preseason poll.
Eight Big 12 linebackers were name to the Butkus Award preseason watch list in its 36th annual selection process. The conference linebackers listed are Baylor’s Terrel Bernard, Mike Rose of Iowa State, DaShaun White of Oklahoma, TCU’s Garret Wallow, Joseph Ossai of Texas, Riko Jeffers of Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State’s Amen Ogbongbemiga and Malcolm Rodriguez.
The Friends of John Mackey have released the 2020 John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List for the most outstanding collegiate tight end. Big 12 tight ends named to the list are Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar, Austin Strogner of Oklahoma, Jalani Woods of Oklahoma State, and TCU’s Pro Wells.
The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Association released the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list for the nation’s top defensive back. The list includes Big 12 secondary standouts Greg Eisworth of Iowa State, Oklahoma State’s Kolby Harvell-Peel, TCU’s Trevon Moehrig, and Caden Sterns of Texas.
Around the NCAA
The NCAA is recommending the use of face coverings and socials distancing during training, competition, and outside of athletics. It is also suggesting daily self-health checks and testing strategies for all athletic activities.
Testing for COVID-19 continues to rise at an unprecedented rate throughout the country, and the NBA surprised everyone when it had zero positive results after testing 346 players. This is great news for the league, its players, and the millions of fans that are ready to watch professional sports again.
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