WVU Coliseum to Receive New Seats
West Virginia University Coliseum will have a new look hopefully for the 2020-2021 season thanks to Ken and Jennifer Mason, lifelong West Virginia residents, and owners of Drilling Appalachian Corporation (DAC) located in Alma, West Virginia.
“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,” the Masons said. “This gift is not only for the University, which represents us on a national level, but also for the people of West Virginia.”
The Mason’s came to the decision to give back to WVU and the people of West Virginia after Ken visited a practice and he and longtime friend Coach Huggins were talking. Huggs mentioned to him that they were hoping to get new seats for the coliseum which are 50 years old and need replaced. That started the wheels turning in Mason’s head and he went home and talked it over with his wife Jennifer. Together they decided to donate the funding for the14,000 plus seats which will benefit Mountaineer fans for many years to come. Mr. Mason had input into the type and color of seats. All seats will have cup holders, bigger numbers on the backs, flying WV logo on the sides and darker blue to match the floor.
The Mason’s are avid supporters of their local schools and community, current members of the Mountaineer Athletic Club and longtime WVU football and men’s basketball season ticket holders. They reside in Alma, a beautiful community located in Tyler County. Both Ken and Jen enjoy farming too and are owners, operators of the Summer Hill Farms located just across from their home.
Ken graduated from Valley High School in Wetzel County and is a 1975 graduate of WVU. He started his drilling business in 1984, in Ritchie County with two partners from Dallas, Texas. His company now has wells and operates in Doddridge, Wetzel, Tyler, and Ritchie counties and employs 28-29 employees. He stated that they continue to drill averaging 20 wells per year.
In 2007, the Mason’s developed a student-oriented oil and gas well project to benefit WVU academically and financially. Ken Mason was named the West Virginia Oil and Gas Man of the Year for his outstanding achievements and leadership in 2010. He also has served as past director, chairman and leader of the West Virginia Independent Oil and Gas Association (IOGA), the Environ mental and Safety Committee, the West Virginia Oil and Gas Association and the Independent Producers Association.
West Virginia University Director of Athletics and Associate Vice President, Shane Lyons quoted: “Many thanks to Ken and Jennifer for helping us continue to make improvements to our athletics facilities. 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 Mason’s for making this much needed improvement a reality.”
“The Coliseum is one of the most iconic, unique arenas in college basketball. Replacing the 50-year-old seats is a need, not a want,” Coach Bob Huggins said. “all of us in Mountaineer Basketball want to thank the Mason’s for their generous gift to help enhance the fan and game experience. It never ceases to amaze me the love that our fans have for this great state, our University and for our basketball program. This gift enables us to continue the upgrades to make the Coliseum one of basketball’s finest arenas.”
Lyons said the current plan is for the old seats to be removed later this summer and the new seats to be in place for the 2020-2021 basketball season. Along with the seats, the athletics department is currently seeking RFPs to upgrade the Coliseum’s sound and lighting, and the recent 16-year extension with Learfield IMG College will provide capital funds to replace the video and ribbon boards in the arena.
The old saying goes, “Once A Mountaineer, Always A Mountaineer,” could not be more true, with the gracious generosity of KEN and JENNIFER MASON! A big sincere thanks from Mountaineer fans everywhere. “It’s A Great Day to be a Mountaineer!”