Buying Into Mountaineer Success
- By Shannon McNamara
- April 26, 2013 01:28 PM
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Mountaineer fans have proven time and again to be extremely loyal. Whether it is cheering loudly at a WVU sporting event, traveling across the country for a big conference match-up or wearing gold and blue each and every day, very few schools boast a group of supporters as faithful and dependable as Mountaineer devotees.
It is with little surprise, then, that a wholesale proposal as large an undertaking as the Mountaineer Athletic Club’s (MAC) Coliseum reseating project is so widely accepted by WVU men’s basketball supporters. Of course, there was some trepidation and questions were plentiful when the project was announced, but the MAC’s transparent and equitable plan has helped the majority of donors realize that there is one, clear cut bottom line.
“If fans want Mountaineer teams to succeed and go far, like a return trip to the NCAA Final Four, we need to donate to ensure that this program has the means to go out and recruit and better itself,” Casey Quinlan said. “I know that my contribution, and any contribution a fan can make, will help this team succeed. The reseating project just ensures that donors, too, are rewarded for the support they give.”
Quinlan, a Morgantown resident who earned his bachelor’s degree in 2002 and his master’s degree in 2006 from WVU, does not hesitate when stating his reasoning. He is a Mountaineer basketball fan, first and foremost, and anything he can do to help support coach Bob Huggins and his team, he will.
Yes, the reseating project will have a direct impact on Quinlan’s enjoyment level at the WVU Coliseum, as his giving level allows him to trade in his season tickets two rows from the top of the arena for seats in the lower bowl, but he says that result is just a pleasant perk.
“My new seats are just a bonus because I am a loyal supporter,” he concluded. “I just want to see the team succeed.”
Vaughn Kiger is a big fan of his current Coliseum seats. A season-ticket holder for almost 30 years, the Morgantown resident had four seats near press row in the lower bowl, directly above the teams’ benches.
“Growing up in Morgantown back in my day, WVU was a basketball school,” the 1966 WVU graduate explained. “Everyone was excited about the sport, and I didn’t think twice about getting tickets.”
As a longtime season ticket holder, Kiger will maintain two of his four seats for a minimal gift to the MAC; he opted to let go of his other two seats instead of upgrading his gift level. He is okay with this decision, as two of his three kids have moved away and he no longer needs four seats.
“From where I stand, I’m glad the MAC gave some deference to the ticket holders that have stuck by WVU for over 25 years,” he said. “Athletics is such a new game. You used to be able to go to basketball games for $5 a ticket and to football games for $6, and those days are long, long gone. It’s just a whole new game out there.
“I’m sure there have been some feathers ruffled over this reseating project, but I’m glad I’m able to take advantage of the respect the MAC is showing some of the most-loyal fans.”
A football season-ticket holder since 1972, Paul Feldmeier became a basketball season-ticket holder near the beginning of coach John Beilein’s tenure at WVU. He never once questioned the Coliseum reseating project.
“I was on board right away,” the Paden City, W.Va., resident said. “For any athletic department to be successful, it takes an enormous amount of money - WVU offers scholarships for almost 600 student-athletes. My family wants to see the Mountaineers succeed, so we’ve decided to take the opportunity the reseating project provides and upgrade our membership level.”
State and University pride have fueled Feldmeier’s desire to see WVU achieve at the highest level. The 1966 WVU graduate understands that the Mountaineers’ accomplishments on the court can pay dividends for the University.
“When WVU is successful in football, basketball and our other sports, admission to the University increases,” he explained. “As a graduate of the school, I want to see WVU win and be successful athletically and academically.”
A fan of his current four-seat location, Feldmeier says that while his membership upgrade coincides with the reseating project, his bottom line is as clear cut as the MAC’s.
“We like where our seats are – we’re not as big of a fan of walking up and down a lot of steps, but we like where our seats are,” he laughed. “We just want to see the University, as a whole, be successful, and it takes money to do that.”
Though Quinlan, Kiger and Feldmeier are supporting the reseating project in their own unique ways, the trio epitomizes the type of loyalty the WVU Athletic Department has come to expect and appreciate from Mountaineer fans. That loyalty ensures that there are many more bright days ahead for West Virginia University.