MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Beginning next season, fans at WVU Coliseum will be jumping out of their seats strictly to cheer — an upgrade from the current combination of cheering mixed with lower-body discomfort.
The Coliseum seats have gone virtually untouched since the building opened in 1970, but that issue is about to become a thing of the past.
West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons announced Tuesday that the Coliseum’s seats will be replaced this summer thanks to a major gift from donors Ken and Jennifer Mason. The dollar amount of the donation was not disclosed.
“Many thanks to Ken and Jennifer for helping us continue to make improvements to our athletics facilities,” Lyons said in an official school release. “The neat thing about this gift is that it will benefit thousands of Mountaineer fans for many, many years.
“It’s no secret that the current seats in the Coliseum are 50 years old and not very comfortable. This gift will change that along with the overall look of the arena. My sincere appreciation to the Masons for making this needed improvement a reality.”
The seats will be colored to match the darker shade of blue on the Coliseum’s new floor, though aesthetics are the least of the worries with the current seats. According to WVU, there literally aren’t replacement parts still on the market for the seats if they break.
“Replacing the seats is a need, not a want,” said WVU men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins.
According to Lyons, the seating changes will not alter the Coliseum’s 14,000-person capacity. The new seats will feature cupholders, which is another upgrade to the current arrangement.
Donor Ken Mason is the owner of Drilling Appalachian Corporation, an energy company based in Alma. Mason is a 1975 graduate of WVU.
In an official statement released by WVU, the Masons said, “We are lifelong residents of West Virginia and are excited to have the opportunity to give back to a state and University that has given us so much.
“This gift is not only for the University, which represents us on a national level, but also for the people of West Virginia.”