CHAPMANVILLE — Oliver Luck said if it weren’t for his dad and uncle being members of the Boy Scouts, he might not have played football at West Virginia University.
The former Mountaineer standout quarterback and current WVU athletics director was the keynote speaker at last night’s James H. “Buck” Harless Friends of Scouting Leadership Gifts Dinner at the Logan Country Club in Chapmanville.
Luck said it was his dad and uncle who were Boy Scouts and had visited West Virginia’s Dolly Sods campground that took him to that same place to go camping.
Luck said he loved West Virginia and kept coming back year after year and he eventually chose the school where he played football before going off to play for the Houston Oilers in the NFL.
“Scouting is responsible for me being a West Virginia Mountaineer,” Luck said. “
Luck’s son, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, will go No. 1 in Thursday’s draft to the Indianapolis Colts.
“He’s going to be a Colt,” Luck said with a big smile. “That’s a good thing.”
Luck also talked about West Virginia University’s move from the Big East Conference to the Big 12. He said there are some challenges ahead for WVU’s athletics teams, but he hopes the student athletes exceed everyone’s expectations.
“The Big 12 is a really tremendous conference,” Luck said. “We have the opportunity — the necessity — of raising the bar for our athletics department. I believe if you set high expectations, young people will reach and sometimes exceed them. As we move to the Big 12 and face some really good teams, we have to raise the bar and the level of expectations for our student athletes. It’s not an option. It’s a necessity. This is a very good move for our university.”
Luck said that the athletics department isn’t the only part of WVU that will have to rise to the challenge of the Big 12. He said the academics department will also have to rise to the challenge.
“West Virginia University has a neat opportunity to work with other schools,” Luck said. “We will also have to upgrade our academics.”
Luck said that he believes the move to the Big 12 will signal a resurgence in WVU football support.
“I think as we go into the Big 12, we’ll go back to the days when the stadium is filled to the last seat,” Luck said.
The WVU athletics director said he also wants to change the country’s perception of West Virginia fans. He asked that everyone who comes to a game be a “designated greeter” so that opponents’ fans will see that WVU fans aren’t so bad after all.
Luck said he hopes WVU fans will be “nice and friendly” to other teams’ fans.
“We’re trying to raise the bar higher as we enter the Big 12,” Luck said. “Maybe some of the Boy Scouts can come up to Morgantown and be designated greeters.”
Nearly 60 people attended the Boy Scout fund raiser, including Senator Art Kirkendoll (D-Logan), Logan County Commission President Danny Godby and Delegate Rupert “Rupie” Phillips.
Chief Cornstalk District Commissioner Joe Linville praised James H. “Buck” Harless for all his years as a Boy Scout. Linville said Harless, who was unable to attend the dinner, is in his 77th year as a Boy Scout.
“That, alone, is very remarkable,” Linville said, as those in attendance gave a loud round of applause.
District Executive Billy Bryant thanked everyone for attending and for their generous support of the Boy Scouts.
Joining Linville and Bryant was District Chair Kem Abraham.
Former Chapmanville Mayor Joy Vance, who also works with the Boy Scouts, also attended the dinner.
To contact Staff Writer Michael Browning, call 304-752-6950, extension 309, or email him at email@example.com.