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WVU’s Darius and Dante Stills never have to look far for motivation

This is from the July 21 edition of the TWIWVS newsletter on Patreon – assuming they still play games in 2020 the following still applies.

(Tom Bragg/TWIWVS)

This is from the July 21 edition of the TWIWVS newsletter on Patreonassuming they still play games in 2020 the following still applies.

Dante and Darius Stills have never had to look far for motivation.

The Stills brothers are the son of former West Virginia University defensive standout Gary Stills, who went on to a long career in the NFL. For two young football players, having a badass Pro Bowler for a dad sets the bar pretty high but if you have followed Dante and Darius’ careers to this point it is safe to say they’re willing to put in the work to get to that level.

Of course, you could take their dad out of the equation and the two still provide plenty of motivation for each other. 

Consider how the Stills brothers each found their way to Morgantown. Darius, who was one year ahead of younger brother Dante at Fairmont Senior High, was a force for some powerhouse Polar Bear teams but did not receive a ton of attention from Power 5 schools outside of West Virginia and Rutgers. 

Meanwhile, Dante was regarded as one of the top defensive line recruits in the country while at Fairmont Senior and it was a *big* deal when he stayed close to home to play for the Mountaineers. Imagine being Darius in that spot — you spent your whole life playing to live up to almost unreasonable exceptions because of who you father is and what he had done, and while you’re getting some recruiting attention your little brother is the next big thing.  

By all accounts, there was never any ill will between the two but it’s hard to imagine that didn’t help drive Darius during his first few seasons at WVU.

Both Stills brothers have played plenty during their time with the Mountaineers and been called out by coaches around the Big 12 as guys you have to account for on every play, but Darius really made “the leap” — that thing football players do where everything starts to click, and it’s impossible to really describe why it’s happening but there is no denying you’re watching it happen — in 2019. The man ran up on an ESPN sideline reporter, told her to report to the world that Baylor’s offensive line was shitty (my words, not his) and proceeded to whip their ass all over Waco for the next few hours in an otherwise miserable game. He was a WVU legend at that moment if he never played another snap for the Mountaineers.

 Cut to last week, and big brother Darius was named the Big 12’s preseason defensive player of the year. Now that dynamic from the recruiting process has been flipped. Darius is the one receiving widespread praise and attention, while Dante has to kind of take a back seat. If history is any indicator, Dante Stills is a good bet to be a beast this football season.

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PODCAST: From St. Albans to around the world with the WNBA’s Renee Montgomery

WV native and WNBA champion Renee Montgomery, who announced Thursday she would skip the 2020 season to aid the social justice movement, joins the show.

(photo via @AtlantaDream on Twitter)

All episodes of TWIWVS are available on most major podcast platforms — including Apple Podcasts and Spotify if that is more your style — or you can scroll down to listen here.

EPISODE NOTES:

West Virginia native and WNBA star Renee Montgomery joins the show this week, and the timing couldn’t be better. This episode was recorded before Montgomery announced she would step away from the Atlanta Dream this season to help with the social justice movement.

Awesome

We get into her time growing up in St. Albans, the controversy when she and several high school teammates transferred en masse from Capital to South Charleston, playing for a college powerhouse at UConn and her journey so far as a professional — which includes two world championships. We also get caught up on what Montgomery has been doing to help the protesters in Atlanta. One of our best episodes yet! 

TWIWVS episode 6: From St. Albans to around the world with the WNBA’s Renee Montgomery

From St. Albans to around the world with the WNBA's Renee Montgomery This Week in WV Sports

West Virginia native and WNBA star Renee Montgomery joins the show this week, and the timing couldn't be better.  This episode was recorded before Montgomery announced she would step away from the Atlanta Dream this season to help with the social justice movement. We get into her time growing up in St. Albans, the controversy when she and several high school teammates transferred en masse from Capital to South Charleston, playing for a college powerhouse at UConn and her journey so far as a professional — which includes two world championships. We also get caught up on what Montgomery has been doing to help the protesters in Atlanta. One of our best episodes yet!  — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
  1. From St. Albans to around the world with the WNBA's Renee Montgomery
  2. Baseball on hiatus with West Virginia Power broadcaster David Kahn
  3. Catching up with Nitro High football coach Zach Davis
  4. Bottle flips and magic tricks with former Marshall OL Joey Stepp
  5. Holgo memes and airport stories with SmokingMusket.com's Matt Kirchner
Featured

PODCAST: Baseball on hiatus with WV Power broadcaster David Kahn

West Virginia Power broadcaster David Kahn joins the show this week to get us caught up on what’s going on with the Seattle Mariners’ South Atlantic League affiliate as baseball is paused due to the pandemic with the possibility of labor strife at the major league level and contraction at the minor league level looming.

Charleston’s Appalachian Power Park, home of the South Atlantic League’s West Virginia Power (Tom Bragg/TWIWVS)

All episodes of TWIWVS are available on most major podcast platforms — including Apple Podcasts and Spotify if that is more your style — or you can scroll down to listen here.

EPISODE NOTES:

West Virginia Power broadcaster David Kahn joins the show this week to get us caught up on what’s going on with the Seattle Mariners’ South Atlantic League affiliate as baseball is paused due to the pandemic with the possibility of labor strife at the major league level and contraction at the minor league level looming. 

TWIWVS Episode 5: Baseball on Hiatius with WV Power broadcaster David Kahn

From St. Albans to around the world with the WNBA's Renee Montgomery This Week in WV Sports

West Virginia native and WNBA star Renee Montgomery joins the show this week, and the timing couldn't be better.  This episode was recorded before Montgomery announced she would step away from the Atlanta Dream this season to help with the social justice movement. We get into her time growing up in St. Albans, the controversy when she and several high school teammates transferred en masse from Capital to South Charleston, playing for a college powerhouse at UConn and her journey so far as a professional — which includes two world championships. We also get caught up on what Montgomery has been doing to help the protesters in Atlanta. One of our best episodes yet!  — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
  1. From St. Albans to around the world with the WNBA's Renee Montgomery
  2. Baseball on hiatus with West Virginia Power broadcaster David Kahn
  3. Catching up with Nitro High football coach Zach Davis
  4. Bottle flips and magic tricks with former Marshall OL Joey Stepp
  5. Holgo memes and airport stories with SmokingMusket.com's Matt Kirchner
Featured

PODCAST: Catching up with Nitro High football coach Zach Davis

Nitro High football coach Zach Davis is on the program to talk about his journey from being the son of a former Major League pitcher to a Division I offensive lineman, how he got into coaching and the path that led him to West Virginia first at Riverside High and now at Nitro.

Photo via facebook.com/NHSFootballWV

All episodes of TWIWVS are available on most major podcast platforms — including Apple Podcasts and Spotify if that is more your style — or you can scroll down to listen.

EPISODE NOTES:

– Nitro High School football coach Zach Davis joins TWIWVS. Davis talks about his journey from being the son of a former Major League pitcher to a Division 1 offensive lineman, how he got into coaching and the path that led him to West Virginia first at Riverside High and now at Nitro.

TWIWVS episode 4 – Nitro High football coach Zach Davis

From St. Albans to around the world with the WNBA's Renee Montgomery This Week in WV Sports

West Virginia native and WNBA star Renee Montgomery joins the show this week, and the timing couldn't be better.  This episode was recorded before Montgomery announced she would step away from the Atlanta Dream this season to help with the social justice movement. We get into her time growing up in St. Albans, the controversy when she and several high school teammates transferred en masse from Capital to South Charleston, playing for a college powerhouse at UConn and her journey so far as a professional — which includes two world championships. We also get caught up on what Montgomery has been doing to help the protesters in Atlanta. One of our best episodes yet!  — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
  1. From St. Albans to around the world with the WNBA's Renee Montgomery
  2. Baseball on hiatus with West Virginia Power broadcaster David Kahn
  3. Catching up with Nitro High football coach Zach Davis
  4. Bottle flips and magic tricks with former Marshall OL Joey Stepp
  5. Holgo memes and airport stories with SmokingMusket.com's Matt Kirchner
Featured

Should C-USA and Sun Belt schools form a new league? Yeah, probably

This is a excerpt from the first TWIWVS Patreon newsletter. In the weeks since this published, the idea for Conference USA and Sun Belt Conference schools to realign in some way has picked up some steam in the media. To get more content like this, subscribe to TWIWVS on Patreon.

Tom Bragg/TWIWVS

This is a excerpt from the first TWIWVS Patreon newsletter. In the weeks since this published, the idea for Conference USA and Sun Belt Conference schools to realign in some way has picked up some steam in the media. To get more content like this, subscribe to TWIWVS on Patreon.

SHOULD C-USA DISSOLVE AND MARSHALL FIND A NEW CONFERENCE?

Yeah, probably. 

Continue reading “Should C-USA and Sun Belt schools form a new league? Yeah, probably”
Featured

PODCAST: Bottle flips and magic tricks with former Marshall OL Joey Stepp

Former Marshall offensive lineman Joey Stepp (1999-2003) joins TWIWVS to talk about his journey from walk-on to captain during the height of the Thundering Herd’s reign over the Mid-American Conference.

All episodes of TWIWVS are available on most major podcast platforms — including Apple Podcasts and Spotify if that is more your style — or you can scroll down to listen.

EPISODE NOTES:

Former Marshall offensive lineman Joey Stepp (1999-2003) joins TWIWVS to talk about his journey from walk-on to captain during the height of the Thundering Herd’s reign over the Mid-American Conference.

TWIWVS Episode 3 — Former Marshall OL Joey Stepp

From St. Albans to around the world with the WNBA's Renee Montgomery This Week in WV Sports

West Virginia native and WNBA star Renee Montgomery joins the show this week, and the timing couldn't be better.  This episode was recorded before Montgomery announced she would step away from the Atlanta Dream this season to help with the social justice movement. We get into her time growing up in St. Albans, the controversy when she and several high school teammates transferred en masse from Capital to South Charleston, playing for a college powerhouse at UConn and her journey so far as a professional — which includes two world championships. We also get caught up on what Montgomery has been doing to help the protesters in Atlanta. One of our best episodes yet!  — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
  1. From St. Albans to around the world with the WNBA's Renee Montgomery
  2. Baseball on hiatus with West Virginia Power broadcaster David Kahn
  3. Catching up with Nitro High football coach Zach Davis
  4. Bottle flips and magic tricks with former Marshall OL Joey Stepp
  5. Holgo memes and airport stories with SmokingMusket.com's Matt Kirchner
Featured

PODCAST: Holgo memes and airport stories with SmokingMusket.com’s Matt Kirchner

Matt Kirchner from SmokingMusket.com joins TWIWVS and the talk is mostly sports adjacent

All episodes of TWIWVS are available on most major podcast platforms — including Apple Podcasts and Spotify if that is more your style — or you can scroll down to listen.

EPISODE NOTES:

  • Info for Patreon subscribers about upcoming exclusive content
  • Matt Kirchner from SmokingMusket.com joins TWIWVS and the talk is mostly sports adjacent

From St. Albans to around the world with the WNBA's Renee Montgomery This Week in WV Sports

West Virginia native and WNBA star Renee Montgomery joins the show this week, and the timing couldn't be better.  This episode was recorded before Montgomery announced she would step away from the Atlanta Dream this season to help with the social justice movement. We get into her time growing up in St. Albans, the controversy when she and several high school teammates transferred en masse from Capital to South Charleston, playing for a college powerhouse at UConn and her journey so far as a professional — which includes two world championships. We also get caught up on what Montgomery has been doing to help the protesters in Atlanta. One of our best episodes yet!  — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
  1. From St. Albans to around the world with the WNBA's Renee Montgomery
  2. Baseball on hiatus with West Virginia Power broadcaster David Kahn
  3. Catching up with Nitro High football coach Zach Davis
  4. Bottle flips and magic tricks with former Marshall OL Joey Stepp
  5. Holgo memes and airport stories with SmokingMusket.com's Matt Kirchner
Featured

PODCAST: How to get stuck in the snow and receive a police escort to a basketball game

We have a lot to cover on the first TWIWVS podcast.

The infamous 2019 WVU basketball game at Iowa State (photo by Tom Bragg/TWIWVS)

Episode notes:

  • Yes the audio quality is a work in progress
  • Dominion Post WVU basketball reporter Justin Jackson joins Tom for a chat about Bob Huggins, the Mountaineers and their time together on the West Virginia beat.
  • If football doesn’t work out for former Marshall offensive lineman Levi Brown he should definitely look into pro wrestling.
  • A shoutout for all of the early TWIWVS Patreon subscribers
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Tom Bragg: What’s next? TWIWVS

Texas at WVU, 2019 (photo by Tom Bragg/TWIWVS)

Losing my job, even with a “temporary” (with no end in sight) tag, sucked.

Covering major college sports for the Charleston newspaper was a job I wanted since I was a kid and for two football seasons and two basketball seasons I got to be the beat writer following the Mountain State’s beloved West Virginia Mountaineers around the country. Before that, for the better part of a decade, I did every sports job there was to do at the state’s largest newspaper — answering phones, taking box scores, editing copy, producing and hosting podcasts, website management, designing front pages and special sections as well as covering nearly every sport at every level the state of West Virginia has to offer.

Let’s call this “Gamer on Deadline Face”

Not getting to do that anymore, even with the current state of the world wiping out most sports (and a lot of sports media jobs like the one I lost), feels weird. A lot of very kind people reached out in the days and weeks after I was let go, and almost all of them asked what I planned to do next. The honest answer at the time was I had no idea. There was (and still is, but I doubt it) the possibility the Gazette-Mail calls to offer my old job back and the process of filing for unemployment in West Virginia is a daily grind.

Days turned into weeks. Unemployment and social isolation due to the coronavirus have made it so there is a lot of free time on my hands. I’m single with no children (or ex-wives), so my days have been full of long walks around my neighborhood with the dog and more than a few hours spent with a video game controller in my hands. I have tried observing what is going on with sports around the state from afar, but it just doesn’t scratch that itch. I put a feeler out on Twitter a few weeks ago asking if people would be interested in possibly paying a small amount for sports content I create, and I felt pretty good about the feedback. After kicking around some ideas for how exactly I wanted to proceed, This Week in West Virginia Sports was born.

Some content will be available for free. There will be a weekly TWIWS podcast available for free (and hopefully widely available on most podcast services — I will keep you updated on that). Sometimes, though probably not very often, I will post a column here free of charge.

For those of you willing to chip in a few dollars, I will also be creating exclusive content on Patreon. The plan for now is to have three tiers of donations for TWIWVS content — $3 per month gets your foot in the door with access to my weekly newsletter and $5 per month gets you that plus access to exclusive audio content a few times each month that will not be available anywhere else. For $8 per month you get everything from the first two tiers plus I will take time during our free podcasts to read pretty much any message you want to get out there (within reason) and answer any questions you might have.

TWIWVS is going to attempt to cover everything worth covering when it comes to sports in West Virginia. That means a heavy dose of the Mountaineers and Marshall as well as the big stories in high school sports and beyond. My days as a full-time sports writer might be over forever, but I think I can still produce content worth a few of your hard-earned dollars each month. I’m not sure exactly where TWIWVS will go in the coming weeks and months, but if you follow along and love sports in West Virginia I think you’ll find it is worth it to chip in and keep this project alive.

The first TWIWVS newsletter will go out to Patreon subscribers on Monday, May 4 and the first free TWIWVS podcast is planned for next week as well (stay tuned for more specifics on podcasts).