• By John Antonik
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  • May 02, 2011 02:32 PM
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The Mountaineer Athletic Club staff will be pretty busy for the next couple of months traveling to different parts of the country drumming up support for West Virginia University’s 17 intercollegiate athletic programs.

The MAC has 19 different events scheduled this spring, starting with a luncheon last month in Houston, Texas, and ending in early June with the Moundsville dinner. In between, the MAC will be in cities throughout the state as well as trips to Atlanta and Pittsburgh.

“We are trying to alternate between some areas where our alumni have migrated to – where we have a great alumni base, whether it be large numbers or a good volunteer base that can help bring out large numbers,” said Niles Eggleston, assistant athletic director for development and executive director of the Mountaineer Athletic Club.

In the future other key areas the MAC is planning to target once again include Washington, D.C., Charlotte and South Florida.

“We’ve been able to do some things around the South Florida football and men’s basketball games, and what we want to do is get down to Naples and even into Miami,” said Eggleston.

Pittsburgh is another key eastern city the Mountaineer Athletic Club is focusing on. An event at the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh is scheduled for Monday, June 6.

“We’ve had a lot of people suggest that we try to get there,” Eggleston said. “Pittsburgh is an area where there are more Mountaineer supporters than most people would think, and I believe we can have a pretty good event and a good presence there.”

However, the primary thrust of this year’s Caravan will continue to be in the Mountain State where 15 events are scheduled in key cities around the state. The MAC has already been in Parkersburg, and will also make appearances in Elkins (May 10), Moorefield (May 11), Martinsburg (May 11), Shepherdstown (May 12), Clarksburg (May 16), Logan (May 17), Huntington and Beckley (May 18), Bluefield (May 26), Charleston (June 2-3), Weirton (June 6) and Moundsville (June 7).

“We need to increase our membership base and increase the number of people that support our student-athletes and our athletic department, so we’re trying to get in front of as many people as we can,” Eggleston explained. “Coordinating all of these events is hard work and all of our coaches have been very generous with their time and realize that this is something very important, not just to their individual programs, but also to our athletic program overall.”

The busiest time for the MAC will be in mid-May when five different events have been scheduled from May 16-19, including two events in the same day on May 18 in Huntington and Beckley.

“We can do this many events because we have volunteers that have managed and coordinated those events for a number of years; they know what they’re doing,” said Eggleston. “From our standpoint it’s really just coordinating transportation, hotels and the program itself.”

Eggleston said athletic director Oliver Luck, men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins and football coaches Bill Stewart and Dana Holgorsen will be at as many events as their busy schedules will permit.

Not included on the list of Caravan stops was the successful Charleston scholarship dinner that took place at the Charleston Town Center Marriott in April. That event takes place annually to help support West Virginia University’s 17 intercollegiate athletic programs.

“Ultimately our charge is to raise money in support for our student-athletes through scholarships, facilities and everything else,” Eggleston noted. “We need everyone involved at the games cheering on the team, and we also need them involved with the Mountaineer Athletic Club because it really benefits and helps everybody.”

Click HERE for a complete list of Coaches Caravan stops.