The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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March 28, 2014

WVU plans facilities improvements

West Virginia University’s facilities will be getting a facelift, pending the Board of Governors’ approval at an April 4 meeting, and further authorization from the West Virginia High Education Policy Commission.

The athletic facilities master plan is estimated to cost $106 million, with $75 million in bonds made possible from guaranteed annual revenue from the Big 12 Conference. A capital expenditure fund in the multimedia rights contract with IMG will provide $6 million, and the remaining $25 million will come from private donations through the Mountaineer Athletic Club. Some projects are expected to begin this year, while others will get off the ground in the coming years.

Some of the first improvements will be made at 35-year-old Milan Puskar Stadium. The team room in the Milan Puskar Center will be updated and expanded, and concourses, restrooms, gates and concession areas will be remodeled. LED boards and wall graphics will also be installed.

At the Coliseum, a new marquee will be installed, and renovations to the concourses and concession areas are also being planned.

Non-revenue sports projects are also being planned, including a new indoor track at the Shell Building, renovations to the Natatorium and tennis courts and a repurposing of Hawley Field, which will host baseball games for the final time this season.

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The WVU wrestling program will also look a lot different next season after WVU athletic director Oliver Luck announced Friday that head coach Craig Turnbull’s contract will not be renewed.

Turnbull had been the Mountaineer coach since 1979 and experienced great success for much of his career. He helped mentor five national champions and 29 All-Americans. His shining star was Greg Jones, who won three national championships and later became Turnbull’s assistant.

Turnbull is 287-214-9 overall during his 36-year career.

The program has struggled, though, since the move to the Big 12, the nation’s premier wrestling conference. WVU was 11-7 overall and 0-3 in the Big 12 this past season.

“Craig has spent the last 36 years as the head of the Mountaineer wrestling program, and we appreciate his many years of service to West Virginia University,” said Luck in a release. “He took over at the helm of the WVU wrestling program in 1979, after serving as an assistant coach here under Frank Liechti, coaching hundreds of Mountaineer wrestlers along the way. We wish him the best.”

Luck said a national search for a new coach will begin immediately.

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WVU’s baseball team experienced every emotion possible during Friday’s Big 12 opener against Baylor at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston.

The Mountaineers (14-8, 1-0 Big 12) broke a 2-2 tie with a Max Nogay grand slam in the sixth, only to see a 7-2 lead erased in the ninth as the Bears (13-12, 4-3 Big 12) forced extra innings with a five-run frame.

In the bottom of the 12th, though, freshman Jackson Cramer played the role of hero with a walk-off double, scoring Jacob Rice to give WVU an 8-7 victory.

Michael Bennett (1-0) picked up the win for the Mountaineers, giving up just one hit in 3 1/3 innings. Harrison Musgrave went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits.

The loss went to Baylor reliever Josh Michalec, who gave up a run on three hits. Starter Brad Kuntz took a no-decision to stay undefeated, despite giving up seven runs on seven hits and five walks.

The series continues today with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m.

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The Mountaineer football team will hold an open practice today at 1 p.m. in Morgantown. The public is encouraged to come out and watch the spring drills from the stands at Milan Puskar Stadium.

— E-mail: chuffman

and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

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