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Virginia Announces 'Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic'

On Wednesday, Aug. 10 Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced that the Commonwealth will be hosting the "Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic," a two year men's basketball tournament for colleges and universities. In December of 2012, George Mason will play the University of Richmond in the early game and The University of Virginia Old Dominion University in the late game. The following year, Hampton University will play James Madison University and Virginia Tech will play Virginia Commonwealth University.

Speaking about the classic, Governor McDonnell remarked, "Virginia has long been home to some of the nation's premier collegiate basketball programs. Virginia teams have appeared in Final Fours, won conference championships and are regularly ranked in national Top 25 polls. Unfortunately, given scheduling constraints and conference affiliations, we too rarely get to witness our in-state teams competing against each other. The "Classic" will change that. In December 2012 and 2013 the Richmond Coliseum will be the site of what are certain to be exciting games which will allow Virginians to celebrate our great colleges and universities while supporting a great cause, the Commonwealth's Food Banks. I hope the Classic will become a long-lasting Virginia athletic tradition. And, as a father who has had children attend UVa, Virginia Tech, ODU, JMU and VCU, I'm definitely staying neutral in this one!"

Speaking about the participation of ODU in the "Classic", Governor McDonnell noted, "I look forward to watching the CAA Champion Monarchs participate in the inaugural Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic next year in Richmond. Old Dominion University is a top-tier basketball program, and I know basketball fans across Virginia are already looking forward to watching the Monarchs take on the Wahoos."

ODU President John R. Broderick said that ODU is delighted to be participants in this showcase of Commonwealth basketball. "We are grateful to the Governor for getting the Virginia schools together for such a worthy cause and allowing ODU to play UVA on a neutral court," he said.

The idea for the all-Virginia basketball doubleheader came from an appearance made by then Governor-elect McDonnell on "Sports Phone with Big Al" on ESPN 950AM in Richmond in December 2009. During the segment, host Al Coleman mentioned the Richmond Times-Dispatch basketball tournament that existed from 1976-1991 and regularly brought top Virginia programs to the Coliseum. Coleman noted the broad interest in getting such a tournament back in action, especially given the recent and historical successes of Virginia schools on the court. The "Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic" is the result of that conversation.

ODU Director of Athletics Wood Selig noted that this is a wonderful opportunity to showcase one of the Commonwealth's greatest resources, men's college basketball and assist those in need. "On behalf of ODU fans across the Commonwealth we say thank you Governor McDonnell for such an innovative idea to display our state's basketball talents while aiding our Commonwealth's Food Banks during the Holidays," said Selig.

"When I first arrived here in Virginia, I noticed the number of Division I basketball programs and the potential they each have," said ODU Head Basketball Coach Blaine Taylor. "If you could be seen as one of the best programs in Virginia, you would be very well respected both regionally and nationally. I laud Governor McDonnell and his staff for putting forth the opportunity for our various entities to share our great sport on the same stage."

ODU has been to post season seven consecutive years which is more than any team in the Commonwealth. The two-time defending CAA Champion Monarchs have competed in the NCAA tournament four times during that time.

ODU and Virginia last played in the 2008 CBI post season tournament quarterfinals, but the two have not met in a regular season game since 1996.

Details regarding tickets and exact game times will be released in the spring of 2012 and 2013 for each year's "Classic." Corporations and individuals interested in sponsorship opportunities can email: GovernorsClassic@governor.virginia.gov for additional information.

Virginians can visit http://www.governor.virginia.gov/hoops-classic, to sign up for updates in the months ahead regarding the "Classic."

This article was posted on: August 12, 2011

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