Special Night

THE OHIO Valley Athletic Conference closed its athletic year in grand fashion Monday night.

The nation’s largest functioning athletic conference dropped the curtain on another successful year of operation when it staged its annual OVAC Banquet of Champions at Wheeling’s WesBanco Arena. The conference affair is the cadillac of prep fetes.

Teams claiming conference titles this past academic year were recognized, receiving championship pennants to be displayed in their respective schools.

Along those athletic lines, five coaches were singled out as finalists for the prestigious Bill Van Horne/Wheeling News-Register Coach of The Year Award. St. Clairsville’s Brett McLean was selected as the winner, an award of major significance as the conference boasts some 500 head coaches.

But the OVAC Banquet of Champions is more than just athletic recognition. Far from it.

More than $30,000 in scholarships, encompassing nearly 40 awards, were handed Monday night. That is a most noteworthy and generous statement from individuals and companies who believe in the conference. It’s a refreshing investment in the future of our student-athletes.

While Monday night’s banquet played out seamlessly in a few hours, it is a happening which takes countless amounts of time to put together. That is the thankless task of Ron White, one that he does with superb expertise.

Athletes and coaches gained much of Monday night’s limelight, as well they should, but what should not be overlooked is the selfless actions of scholarship donors, OVAC Executive Secretary-Treasurer Tom Rataiczak, the conference’s executive board and White.

It all added up to a championship night for a conference filled with champions.