'Country Roads' Builds Pride Among Team, Fans

By most accounts, the singing of "Country Roads" after WVU's win over UTC was a smashing success. For those few WVU fans who remain unconvinced, we offer the words of WVU recruiting coordinator and tight end coach Herb Hand.

Hand, who was right out in front of the Mountaineer football team as they ran through their first rendition of the state's unofficial anthem, is rumored to be the best singer on the coaching staff.

When asked for a demonstration, Hand joked, "You'll have to catch my act some night."

The joking was quickly set aside, however, when Hand talked about the new post-game signing session.

"We've put a lot of emphasis on it. We had the team sing it every night in camp. It's something we want our guys to take pride in -- being a Mountaineer and being from West Virginia.

"That's important. They are representing our state and the people in the state. We don't want to sell our fans short. This is a proud state, and we have a lot of things to be proud of in our state.

"Maybe singing "Country Roads" might remind our guys of the people that are fans that can't come to Mountaineer Field, but are listening on the radio. And maybe that might help us when the going gets tough in the fourth quarter. We want our guys to have an identity with that, and understand how important football is to this state.

The emotion in Hand's voice was evident when he talked, and it was obvious that the fans' response was important to the coaches and players as well.

"The fans' reaction was great, and I hope it builds up. As we collect more wins, I hope it builds into a great tradition. That's what's great about college football. I had goosebumps standing out there singing that song."

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