Story by Joe Brocato

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A competitive bidding process has led to a new host site for the WVSSAC Football Championships.

The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission Football Championships will move to University of Charleston Stadium for at least the next three years. There is a mutual option for the 2027 title games. The WVSSAC Board of Directors granted final approval to the City of Charleston on Thursday.

David Price

“We are excited with the offer extended by the Charleston community to host the football championships at Laidley Field,” said WVSSAC Executive Director David Price. “The local organizing group is committed to the student and fan experience as well as the financial success of the event.”

The round of bidding to host the 2024, 2025 and 2026 games was the most-competitive in terms of the number of proposals submitted to the WVSSAC. Representatives from Bluefield’s Mitchell Stadium, Wheeling Island Stadium and a combined bid from Huntington’s Joan C. Edwards Stadium and Morgantown’s Milan Puskar Stadium all submitted proposals to host the contests.

“We were very fortunate to have four proposals from different parts of the state (Bluefield/Charleston, Huntington/Morgantown and Wheeling) who each had great interest in hosting the football championships,” Price said. “Each proposal had strong merit and each received thorough consideration.”

“We included things in our bid like making sure every team, no matter where they are from even if they are from Charleston, gets to experience the same things — a sit-down meal, swag bags to commemorate their championship experience. We are going to make sure every team that comes to Charleston gets to go to GoMart Ballpark and see the ‘Light the Night’ that the Dirty Birds put on,” said Charleston CVB President and CEO Tim Brady.

Tim Brady

“What is going to be better than playing for a state championship with the Capitol Dome in the background and Laidley Field with the lights on? It is going to be really cool,” Brady said.

Bids were formally submitted to to the WVSSAC prior to January 12 and site visits were conducted in the following weeks. A minimum seating capacity of 10,000 was required by the WVSSAC to host. UC Stadium is the home of the University of Charleston and Capital High School football teams. Laidley Field also hosts the WVSSAC Track and Field Championships.

Wheeling had hosted the championship games since 1994. Laidley Field in Charleston was the previous host of the games. The 2024 championships will mark the first time that a 4-class system will be in place. Games will be played December 6 and 7 with noon and 7 p.m. kickoffs both days.

“We have four full-size locker rooms and a locker room for the referees. There are some locker room renovations that will be completed prior to December and some press box renovations that are underway that will be completed by November,” Brady said.