WVSSAC chooses Charleston for state football championships over Morgantown, Huntington

Feb. 22—MORGANTOWN — Change is in the air for the West Virginia state football championships. Not only will 2024 be the first year four champions are crowned but it will be the first time in 30 years the games won't be played on Wheeling Island.

The WVSSAC announced Thursday morning that it has selected Charleston as the new home for the games.

Charleston will host the championship for the next three years with a mutual option for a fourth year. The games will be played at Laidley Field.

"We are excited with the offer extended by the Charleston community to host the football championships at Laidley Field, " WVSSAC executive director C. David Price said in a statement. "The local organizing group is committed to the student and fan experience as well as the financial success of the event."

The Charleston proposal was submitted by a partnership of Kanawha County Schools, the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau and the City of Charleston.

The state football championships, formerly known as Super Six, had been played in Wheeling since 1994.

"Wheeling has been a great host the past 30 years, " Price said. "They set the bar high for other cities to even consider the challenge of hosting the football championships. We thank the many individuals who provided leadership through the years for the Super Six."

The state championships would have been played in Charleston in 2020, but all three games were canceled due to COVID.

In addition to Charleston and Wheeling, Bluefield also submitted a bid to host the state championship at Mitchell Stadium. Morgantown and Huntington submitted a joint proposal for the games to rotate between WVU's Milan Puskar Stadium and Marshall's Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

"We were very fortunate to have four proposals from different parts of the state who each had great interest in hosting the football championships, " Price said. "Each proposal had strong merit, and each received thorough consideration."

Wheeling as the host city had drawn criticism in recent years due to its non-central location in the state and the facilities at Wheeling Island Stadium. Wheeling Island Stadium was finished in 1987 with a capacity of 12, 220.

Laidley Field was finished in 1979 with a capacity of 18, 500. The stadium is used by the University of Charleston, George Washington and Capital High Schools and it hosts the WVSSAC track and field state championship meet.

Joe Varney became the new general manager of Laidley Field in 2022 ; he was previously the event coordinator for the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

"One of the first things I wanted to accomplish was to improve the aesthetics of Laidley Field, " Varney told the Charleston Gazette-Mail after last year's state track meet. "We started off with a big push to get it pressure-washed and tidying up the facility. It's important to give everyone a good product when they come to Laidley Field, that is, a nice, clean stadium to enjoy while they are there."

The artificial playing surface at Laidley Field was last replaced in 2018.

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