A record number of women turned out for the 2020 Ladies Huddle, which gave fans a unique look at both the present and future of West Virginia football — along with some perks.
This year’s Huddle was surely different, as it was forced to go virtual out of safety concerns. For many fans, however, that meant they could participate in the event when they otherwise wouldn’t due to distance. In total, 202 participants were in attendance, helping to raise over $34,000 — a pair of record figures for the event — and all had their signature Almost Heaven cocktail in hand.
Amanda Mazey kicked the Ladies Huddle off by hosting a fashion show of officially licensed apparel, including some unreleased items with a discount.
Next, deputy athletics director Kelly Zinn gave a virtual tour of the Puskar Center’s ongoing renovations as part of the Climbing Higher campaign. Fans got a look at both the current status of the construction as well as the renderings of the final product.
West Virginia strength and conditioning coach Mike Joseph made an appearance to give an inside look at the Mountaineers’ preparations in the gym. He gave a short tour of the team’s new socially-distanced weight room set-up in Milan Puskar Stadium, then went through some stretches and workouts that fans can do at home to stay in shape
After the warm-up, each of the position coaches helped out and showed off some drills that their players do in practice. The coaches weren’t able to use their normal student-athletes, but luckily for them, their families were able to step in to demonstrate.
The Ladies Huddle wrapped up with a Q-and-A session with head coach Neal Brown and his wife, Brooke, along with an appearance from their son, Dax. The Browns answered on a number of topics, ranging from their life at home through the pandemic, international recruiting, and the coach’s thoughts on his soon-to-be new facilities. Dax even showed off his counting and push-up skills with his dad.
Coach Brown also explained what it was like to coach football from home, and the difficulties of keeping his team focused with a cloud of uncertainty in the future.
“You’re dealing with these issues in this type of setting, where you don’t get the temperature of the room, you can’t see body language, and so it’s so much different than seeing our players, and being in a room and like, understanding when they’re going through something because you can see how they’re walking down the hall,” he said. “…You can’t do that in these Zoom meetings, so it’s been difficult. This has by far…been the biggest challenge, biggest struggle in my professional career.”
However, the Browns did express their love for their new home of Morgantown, as well as gratitude for the city’s acceptance of not only them and their family, but of his staff and their families as well.
Of course, the Ladies Huddle concluded just like any other Mountaineer event, with the playing of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”