Lyons Talks Old Rivalries, Big 12 Championship, Facility Upgrade - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Lyons Talks Old Rivalries, Big 12 Championship, Facility Upgrades

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WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons speaks with the media. WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons speaks with the media.

MORGANTOWN - West Virginia University Director of Athletics Shane Lyons met with the media on Wednesday in the WVU football team room. In a discussion that lasted a little over an hour, a lot of topics were covered revolving around his goals and expectations for the department. Here's a snapshot.

Lyons started by recapping the successful 2016-17 sports season that saw a fifth straight NCAA Championship for the rifle team, a Big 12 Conference Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance for women's basketball, a trip to the College Cup for women's soccer, the return to the NCAA Tournament for baseball, Sweet 16 finish in men's basketball, and football's 10-win season.

“I don’t want this to be a one year anomaly, this is expectations. This is where we should be each and every year,” Lyons said. "That’s our goal as we move forward. Let’s not look back and just say '2016-17 was a great academic year,' what we need to do is build off that each and every year and make sure we perform on the courts and fields and also in the classroom and community."

West Virginia University capped the year off with six teams ranked in the top 20 nationally. Academically, 14 of the 18 teams finished with an overall GPA above 3.0.

    *The west side improvements to Milan Puskar Stadium are on schedule. The upgrades will mirror the east side renovations completed ahead of the 2016 season, including additional entries into the stadium, improved box seating areas, another team store, charging stations for mobile devices, an expanded first aid area and improved lighting on the concourse.

"I think this stadium looks the best it ever looked in its history. From the concourse, the fan enhancements, the restrooms., the additional concessions, the field itself with the crown taken out," Lyons said.

"Great improvements and great strides have been made in that area.”

Lyons also said his goal is to continue to focus on improving other facilities.

"My goal is to have a vision moving forward, not only with football but our other sports, Olympic sports, and also the Coliseum is continue to press forward with those facility renovations."

And the construction of one of those facilities is officially under way.
 
After Lyons' meeting with the media wrapped up, an official release on the start of construction for the Mountaineer Center was released. It will be a community wellness facility featuring competitive and community pools and a track and field and cross country complex. The multi-use sports/event complex will be located at Mylan Park. Along with community used, it will be the home for WVU's swimming and diving and track and cross-country teams.
“This Center is important for several reasons. Not only does it significantly improve the University’s swimming, diving, cross country and track programs, it also provides an important addition to the recreational options in Monongalia County and beyond."
“This shows what can be accomplished when several groups sit down together and look at the big picture of what can be accomplished through cooperation for the betterment of the entire community,” he said.

Lyons also gave a reminder that WVU adopted the NFL clear bag policy for all ticketed events. The clear bag policy will begin with the women's soccer home opener on Thursday, August 24. You can find the clear bag policy here.

    *The Big 12 Championship game returns this season after a six-year absence. It will be played in Arlington, Texas' AT&T Stadium through 2021. On December 2, the top two teams in the regular season standings will compete for the Conference title in the Big 12 Football Championship Game

“The most important thing of that championship game as a conference is obtaining that 13th data point,” Lyons said. “Our championship game will be unique compared to others. It will be our true top one and two teams in the conference. We decided on that and not splitting teams into divisions."

He added the conference is focused on having a team in the College Football Playoff and had 50% of its teams ranked in the Top 25 in the preseason polls.

“Football is good in the Big 12.”

   *Old rivalries are set to be renewed on the football field in the near future, starting with Virginia Tech in the 2017 season opener. This marks the first meeting between the two on the gridiron since 2005. They will face off again in Morgantown in 2021.The Hokies aren’t the only familiar foes appearing on WVU’s future schedules.

“We’ve had luck of having some of our former traditional rivals want to schedule those games," Lyons said.

The Backyard Brawl with Pitt is penciled in for 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025. The Mountaineers and Nittany Lions have faced each other since 1992 but that will change in 2023. Maryland is also on West Virginia’s future schedule. The Terps and Mountaineers will meet in 2020 and 2021.

 In addition to these topics, Shane Lyons had plenty more to talk about. Make sure to listen to the full interview in the video player above.

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