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'15 to 20' Alderson Broaddus student athletes, coaches now call Fairmont State home

Jan. 27—FAIRMONT — When news reached the administration at Fairmont State University that Alderson Broaddus University would close last fall, President Mike Davis knew the university had to act to help students affected by the closure.

"First time we sat down, we had an idea Alderson Broaddus was going to close about a week before [Higher Education Policy Commission] made their decision," Davis said. "We couldn't do anything at that moment, but I said we got to be ready so that when it happens, we can process everything quickly [for students to transfer]."

Davis emphasized keeping transfer students on track so they could graduate in the same amount of time as they would have at Alderson Broaddus, the private Baptist institution in Philippi, West Virginia. Fairmont State compared courses to see which credits it could accept.

According to Davis, the majority of students at AB were athletes. For wrestler Greg Griffith, the closure put him and people he knew into a panic.

"That first day, it's a lot of stress," Griffith said. "There was four or five of us that I'm real close with, we had no idea what was going on. We had two weeks to figure out where we're gonna go to school. We had to find a place to live. I wouldn't say we were scared, but we were worried about what was gonna happen."

Griffith, a junior exercise science major from Chapitco, Maryland, applied to every school in the Mountain East Conference and got accepted by all of them. He chose Fairmont State over the others because he already knew people here and wanted to be somewhere without starting from scratch.

The transfer process went smoothly, according to Griffith. He said he was accepted by Fairmont State within a week of applying, and the university gave him and friends who went with him another week to find places to live.

"They did a great job," Griffith said.

His story is one of a handful of students who transferred from Alderson Broaddus to Fairmont State. According to Fairmont State Athletic Director Greg Bamberger, about 15 to 20 student athletes made the jump to Fairmont State.

According to the rosters on Fairmont State's athletics page, there were five football players, two baseball players and two wrestlers who transferred from Alderson Broaddus and are active student athletes.

On top of the players who came from Alderson Broaddus, Fairmont State picked up three football coaches after the closure. Bamberger called it a "blessing in disguise" to have hired those coaches.

"We had two coaches who had resigned to take other jobs in the early summer," Bamberger said. "We were kind of in the midst of trying to find some replacements, and then all of a sudden, here comes AB with guys that were experienced and needed jobs and didn't have to move."

Those coaches were Alderson Broaddus head football coach Travis Everhart, head sprint football coach Matt Perotti and tight ends coach Jennings Berry. Everhart and Perotti became the offensive line and outside linebackers coaches, respectively, while Berry remained a tight ends coach.

The adjustment for the student athletes has gone well. For Griffith, he's been able to feel at home on Fairmont State's wrestling team, and Head Coach Gennaro Bonaventura has been a great coach for him.

"G [Bonaventura] is one of the best coaches I've ever had," Griffith said. "I love G. He's a great guy."

Reach Colin C. Rhodes at 304-367-2548