Column - Memorable moments of 2011
Published: Thursday, December 8, 2011
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2011 00:12
We've come to that time of year. The eggnog is being poured, bells are being jingled and the new year is upon us.
Before we drop the ball and break out the sauerkraut, let us look back on what was a wild year of West Virginia athletics.
So, without further ado, here are my top 10 most memorable moments of 2011.
10. Dalton Pepper seals win vs. Clemson (March 17)
In a back-and-forth matchup in the second round of the NCAA tournament, West Virginia guard Dalton Pepper took control. Head coach Bob Huggins switched a 1-3-1 defense, and Pepper single-handedly forced three straight turnovers to seal the win for the Mountaineers.
9. Women's soccer wins second straight Big East Championship (Nov. 6)
Under the direction of veteran head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, the Mountaineers won 10 regular season Big East Conference games for the first time in school history. Then, West Virginia defeated Louisville in the Big East championship for its third conference crown in five years.
8. Beer Sales (Sept. 4 – Nov. 25)
For the first time in the history of Milan Puskar Stadium, beer was sold to the general public. Prices for a bottle of beer ranged from $7 to $9. More than $500,000 in revenue was generated, and alcohol incidents were down 25 to 30 percent.
7. Men's soccer upset of No. 1 UConn (Oct.18)
The West Virginia men's soccer team was able to defeated the top-ranked team in the country at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. It was the Huskies' first loss of the season, and the Mountaineers were the only team all season to score more than two goals against UConn.
6. ESPN's College GameDay (Sept. 24)
The popular television show that makes a weekly appearance at a university set up on the Mountainlair Green to preview the matchup between No. 2 LSU and No. 16 West Virginia. Thousands of students attended to see the likes of Erin Andrews, Lee Corso, Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit.
5. WVU 30, South Florida 27 (Dec. 1)
In the regular season finale for the West Virginia football team, Najee Goode forced a fumble when it appeared the Bulls were set to attempt a game-winning field goal. Tyler Bitancurt hit a game-winner of his own as time
expired, and the Mountaineers earned a share of the Big East title and a trip to the Discover Orange Bowl.
4. Casino Incident (May 18)
On a late night in Cross Lanes, W.Va., West Virginia head coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen was removed from the Mardi Gras Casino for inappropriate behavior.
Holgorsen, who was unknown to most state residents at the time, was put under a
microscope, and his personality and lifestyle were in question.
3. Men's basketball comeback vs. Louisville (March 5)
Bob Huggins' squad trailed by five with less than 20 seconds remaining, but three free throws by Casey
Mitchell and two by Truck Bryant solidified one of the wildest comebacks in the Coliseum's history.
2. Stewart resignation (June 10)
Bill Stewart nearly had as much power as the governor after a Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma. But, three years of underachievement combined with Stewart's call to a Pittsburgh sports writer led to his resignation. The resignation opened the door for Dana Holgorsen to step in as head coach a year earlier than planned.
1. WVU accepts invitation to Big 12 Conference (Oct. 28)
At one point, it appeared West Virginia may be left out of the landscape change of conference realignment. However, this all changed when it was formally announced that West Virginia would leave the Big East
Conference and join the Big 12. It is still unclear when exactly the
Mountaineers will compete in the Big 12, but one thing is clear – the move will significantly change the future of West Virginia University.