CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – WVU held their annual scholarship dinner Monday night at the Charleston Coliseum.

Even though this event is typically annual, this is the first one held since 2019 due to the pandemic.

Hundreds gathered to eat some good food, hear from the coaching panels, and hang out with Mountaineers and fellow fans.

The special guest speaker was former WVU outside linebacker, Bruce Irvin. Irvin was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 2012 as the 15th overall pick.

Football head coach Neal Brown, men’s basketball head coach Bob Huggins, and the newest addition to the WVU head coaching staff, Dawn Plitzuweit, were among the coaches in attendance.

“We haven’t been down here in awhile,” said Huggins. “And honestly, that’s kind of a shame. These people here are absolutely wonderful. And it’s just…things have changed over the last three or four years, with everything that’s happened. And we need to reach out to different parts of our state, which we are doing. And I think this is the first, it should be the first, it’s our Capitol. It’s where we should be. We have a new women’s coach, too. So it’s great for her to be out and meet people.”

“There’s no better way to connect with people than to do it face to face,” said Plitzuweit. “So it was certainly a challenge during the years of COVID to be able to do this. So I’m really thankful, from a timing standpoint, I’m able to do this within the first few weeks of being here in West Virginia.”

“The name, image, likeness events keep getting more important as we go through this,” said Brown. “It’s important for our players to have interaction with our fans. Especially in the southern part of the state, and that’s what this event is about. It’s about raising scholarships, but also getting our players around our fanbase. And it’s the first time we could do this since 2019, which sounds crazy. So to get back and get in front of the people here in Charleston…it’s gonna be a fun night.”

Earlier that afternoon, athletes were at a WVU meet and greet in South Charleston; 39 total athletes from all 13 sports were in attendance.

“I think this is a great opportunity to come down here to Charleston and the Capitol, to be able to interact with the fans and whatnot,” said Ja’Quay Hubbard, an offensive lineman for WVU football. “You know, it’s been a long off- season. So just to be able to let your hair down a little bit, get with the fans. Just talk to them, see how they’re doing. It’s a great opportunity.” 

“It’s very important,” said junior running back Tony Mathis. “Just to show love to the fans and everyone who supports us yearly around, for all sports, it’s amazing. So we just try to give back and keep the love mutual.”