MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The announced crowd of 4,814 at the WVU Coliseum left more than 9,000 empty seats for Thursday night’s drubbing of Georgia Southern.

Perhaps the student section was less populated because of kids getting a jump on the Thanksgiving break. Maybe other fans stayed away because the opponent was, after all, Georgia Southern.

And some fans might still need convincing this West Virginia team is actually an improved version of last season’s 13-19 squad.

“I don’t blame the fans—we had a terrible year,” said junior guard Gary Browne after WVU rolled to a 101-68 victory. “I don’t blame them for nothing. Those that came, I appreciate it a lot, but we really don’t think about that. We think about winning games.”

Photo gallery: WVU-Georgia Southern

West Virginia twice drew fewer than 5,000 fans last season—with 4,982 showing for a nonleague game against Oakland last Dec. 19 and only 4,966 on hand for an “ESPN Big Monday” 9 p.m. tipoff vs. Texas on Feb. 4.

Attendance for this season’s opener against Mount Saint Mary’s was 8,336 (staged the night before the Texas football game) and a crowd of 6,038 showed for last Sunday’s win over Duquesne.

Bob Huggins wasn’t ranting about Thursday night’s low turnout, the smallest home crowd of his seven-year tenure at WVU. But when a reporter broached the topic, Huggins dismissed the excuse fans shouldn’t care to watch WVU face a mid-major opponent.

“We have this notion of what great fans we are—well, great fans come all the time,” the coach said. “Great fans come to see their team, they don’t come to see the other team.

“We do have some great fans, don’t get me wrong. But we obviously just don’t have 14,000 of them.”

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  • clair thompson

    Winning equals fans.

  • Steve

    According to Huggy bear, you guys have 1.6 million. That was the scripted statement he made before the blue and hold basketball scrimmage. Now, if MU and ECU will help Dana the Drunk, the football players will not starve and we may assist you all in building new facilities.

  • Cuttey

    Coach Huggins should know ......but maybe in denial that the coliseum is not going to fill up for every game. Even if the team just won the NC. The numbers are not there. I'm not sure what the population numbers and the fan base is within a 75 mile radius. But to get even 5. percent seems a stretch.

  • Cuttey

    WVU does a poor job of marketing. Week day games are not going to be heavily supported by the same fan base used in football. A one hour driving time is the market. Saturate that market with advertising and specials for weeknight games. Whenever Luck makes up his mind on financing these facility improvements...I hope he has in mind suites for the coliseum. This would provide a steady revenue stream and cut out about 2 to 3 thousand seats that are seldom used.

  • Shadow

    Just a note, Georgia Southern beat Florida in football today. Their basketball team can't be far behind despite being unknown back here in the hills. It is twice the size of Marshall and 5/8 of WVU.

  • GaryLPoling

    Dear Coach Huggins and AD Luck
    I am one of the people that has followed MY Mountaineers since 1957 and have had season tickets since the late 80's (even though I consistently attended football and basketball games on a coach's pass or individual admission tickets.I know it takes money to run a quality program; but WVU, especially MR Luck is eliminating the true die hard fans who attended games on cold, rainy, snowy, icy nights when I 79 was almost impassable, but my dear late wife and I came north-bound.
    Until major changes occur at MY university and the true fans are accommodated, you folks are going to have empty seats at MTNR Field and the Coliseum.
    I wish the MTNRS a great season. My Shih-Tzu, Sports Scan radio which is synchronized w/Tony & Jay & I will be tuned in rooting for the team my dear wife and I have really enjoyed. Please remember the common person and intense MTNR fans.
    I will always bleed "OLD GOLD & BLUE.
    Best Wishes and lets go MTNRRRRRRS

  • jwg66

    Risk your life?? Really? I think washing your hair could be risky too.... You might slip or stick your finger in a socket.

    If you look at this team, we will do well this year and even better next. Everyone returns. Hang in there, be a true fan and give the players your support. Of course this will fall on many trolls deaf ears.

    And you don't have to dispute posters facts to state an opinion of who is a troll or not...

  • appikid

    Just really tired of watching coaches make millions and say " How the hell do I know!" Can't get a straight answer from Holgs or Huggs! And guess what, they dress like couch potatoes! No class! These guys are making millions! COME ON! Look around Mountaineers! It breaks me to say this, but today, |I won't watch anymore! Can no longer watch the state of a University athletic program that I have loved my whole life! What has happened to our " OLD GOLD AND BLUE"?

  • don

    A couple of points: 1st off-there is a point with any product where the price exceeds the value. Case in point is nascar. Sold out virtually every race until a few years back when general admission tickets reached a certain level and ordinary fans simply couldn't justify spending that much to watch a race. Now every race track has lots of empty seats. Secondly, I wasn't at all happy with last year's team but I can already see a vast improvement in Huggs recruits. Like him or not, he is one of the best active BB coaches in the country. I for one, am willing to give him a little time. Good luck Huggs!

  • Toadman

    I agree with so many other WV fans. It is very expensive to attend WVU games on a regular basis and especially during week nights. Most people have to work for a living and it just isn't possible. If you have to travel 2-4 hours it's impossible.
    Aussie01 hit the nail on the head. I had 2 season tickets too, for many years, but when the NEW management came in I either had to donate money to the program or give up my tickets. I couldn't afford to buy the season tickets plus make a donation to the sports program. So, if it's on tv I watch it and if not, I don't. I would love to have season tickets again but until changes are made in the program (which won't happen) and they get back to reality, it's what I have to do. IT'S ALL ABOUT MONEY! It won't change. It's the crazy world we live in today.

  • Truthteller

    Marshall fans need a reality check. They must have majored in Fantasy 101. When has Marshall played in the NCAA tournament? When has Marshall got to the sweet sixteen, elite eight, final four? When has Marshall won or less played in a BCS championship bowl game? Until Marshall can match or even top WVU in its accomplishments, then you Marshall fans have nothing valid to make your
    stand on. This is what really makes me mad about Marshall fans. You should respect WVU not hate it because you are jealous of the accomplishments. Get off your butt and earn those accomplishments instead of coveting WVU's success. Nothing was given to WVU it was earned. Grow some spine and be men instead of mice.

  • Billy

    Hi there yourself, GoEers
    I myself like this basketball team. I think that if they stay together and Huggs teaches more than he yells and belittles them, which he seems to be doing, they could before this year is over be real good. I like how unselfish they play and see them growing. If they continue to improve they will surprise a bunch of people this year, and next year they could contend for the conference title. A lot of if's, but I see the progress already.
    I do not see where the name calling and off color remarks add to the conversation though. If you disagree with another persons comments, attacking them and calling them trolls and the parents basement comments makes that poster look just as bad as the person that they are attacking. I think it is better to agree to disagree by presenting your case that to make ones self appear in as shallow as the ones they think they are cutting down.

  • cutty77

    The Botton line is this. This New WVU Basketball Team is 1000% better than lasts years Team. The Fans will come out to watch them. I like what Gary Brown said about last years record. This Team just isn't very deep,but they are fun to watch play.

    • Big Larry

      1000% better?

  • richard

    there are some real idiots who post on here. marshall fans i would say. if not marshall fans, then they are just wvu haters..........or as i said before, IDIOTS!

  • squad

    there will be lots of fans there this year. no worries. we have a good team and we are going to have a really nice year. and I know that kills about half of you on here....and I just don't understand that. I never will.