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West Virginia AD Wren Baker Interested in Extending Basketball Backyard Brawl



Backyard Brawl with Nelly Cummings against WVU

The basketball edition of the Backyard Brawl appears to be in good hands going forward.

On Monday, WVSN’s Mike Asti and Ethan Bock — along with other media members — caught up with West Virginia athletic director Wren Baker to discuss the state of the basketball program. Following his press conference in which he discussed former head coach Bob Huggins and interim head coach Josh Eilert, he also made his feelings clear about how often West Virginia should play Pitt on the hardwood.

Baker told Jerry DiPaola of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he has already expressed to his counterpart at Pitt — Heather Lyke — that he has an interest in extending the basketball Backyard Brawl. “I called her and told her we would definitely love to extend it,” he said to DiPaola.

When the two schools play in Morgantown this coming season, it will mark the 190th version of the basketball rivalry. The Mountaineers beat Pitt 81-56 in Pittsburgh early last season.

It’s not even just about the basketball rivalry or the historic nature of the football battle either for Baker. “We would extend in pretty much every sport in our series with Pitt,” Baker said. “It’s a great rivalry, a great series, draws well for both. So, I think it makes a ton of sense. I’m for continuing the series.”

These comments by Baker come only days after WVU football head coach Neal Brown discussed what the Backyard Brawl means to him on a show with WVSN’s Mike Asti.

“They had a really good football last year,” Brown said about the 2022 edition that saw the Brawl return on the gridiron for the first time in a decade. “Does the path of our season change if we win the game? Probably so, probably so, but we didn’t win the game. It was winnable. We didn’t make the plays. They made some plays to win it.”

“They took advantage of some of our mistakes, and now we’ve got a chance at our home stadium, and this place is gonna be rocking and rolling,” said Brown. “It’s gonna be a night game, I know our fans are gonna be supercharged, and it’s important.

“We need to win the game. We need to win the game. It’s important where it falls in our schedule, it’s the game before we play our Big 12 opener … It’s important and it matters and it’s a game from a rivalry perspective, we don’t try to undersell it.”

By most accounts, it certainly seems both programs are on the same page and want to play each other as often as possible. And that’s a win for both fan bases.

This story initially appeared on our partner site WV Sports Now

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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2 months ago


This is a win-win for WV and a lose-lose for us. It’s easy cheap press for the sportswriters and that’s why they want it. I hope the new Chancellor throws down the gauntlet and agrees after we are admitted to the Big Ten.

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