HUNTINGTON – Marshall University Athletics and its rights holder for television and radio, IMG Sports, have signed an exclusive two-year agreement with WCHS-TV 8/WVAH-TV FOX 11 to carry Marshall University Thundering Herd football and men's basketball beginning with the 2012 Marshall football season.
"We are very excited to join into this partnership with Marshall University and IMG,” said Harold Cooper, General Manager of WCHS/WVAH.
“The ability to bring our own brand of coverage to the Herd and Marshall University is something we've wanted to do for a very long time. I say with pride...'We Are Marshall’.”
Under terms of the agreement, WCHS/WVAH will carry live coverage of select Thundering Herd football telecasts and basketball telecasts, believed to be two football and four basketball games.
In addition, WVAH will be the home of weekly shows featuring Marshall head football coach Doc Holliday and head men's basketball coach Tom Herrion.
Eyewitness News Sports Director Mark Martin, the reigning West Virginia Sportscaster of the Year, will serve as the host for the two coaches shows.
Martin also currently serves as the analyst for football broadcasts on the Thundering Herd/IMG Radio Network, and is a columnist for Herd Insider Magazine and Wally’s and Wimpy’s Football Magazine.
“IMG is thrilled to partner with WCHS/WVAH,” said George Smalley, the new General Manager for IMG Thundering Herd Sports Marketing.
“Bringing top-quality programming to Thundering Herd fans has, and always will, be our top priority.”
IMG College, the nation’s leading collegiate marketing company which manages the media rights for nearly 100 universities nationwide, has managed Marshall University’s multimedia rights since 1998 (when it was known as ISP Sports).
"This is a great opportunity to solidify our presence in Huntington, and to show the Thundering Herd Nation that Eyewitness News truly is West Virginia's source for local news and sports," said Matt Snyder, WCHS/WVAH Eyewitness News Director.
The deal ends a 16-year agreement with WSAZ-TV 3, who has done the coach's shows with Keith Morehouse since then. Marshall also had games air on WSAZ, but since joining Conference USA also saw games on WOWK-TV 13 as well.
Marshall football went 7-6 in 2011, with a strength of schedule that rated among the nation’s best.
The program also captured its seventh bowl win, and second in three years, with a 20-10 victory over FIU in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.
Herrion’s men’s basketball program went 21-14 last season, advancing to its first-ever Conference USA title game on the strength of wins over SMU, a triple-overtime win over Tulsa and a win in the semi-finals over Southern Miss before fallen to Memphis in Memphis, Tenn.
Marshall then made its first NIT appearance in 24 years, traveling to Murfreesboro, Tenn. to face Middle Tennessee State.
The Herd had the highest RPI of any team in the nation not selected for the NCAA Tournament.
“We very much appreciate the sincere interest that WCHS/WVAH has shown in being a part of Marshall Athletics by agreeing to be our television partner,” said Thundering Herd Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick.
“We’re looking forward to partnering with them to further the exposure of our athletic department.”
Martin is certainly no stranger to Marshall Athletics, having served as the Marshall/IMG Sports radio sideline reporter in 2010 and the color commentator for 2011 and 2012 with the “Voice of the Herd,” Steve Cotton.
He also served in both capacities on Thundering Herd television broadcasts in 1991-94, when the Marshall Sports Network was developed and carried on WCHS, off a feed by Creative Productions and Dan Shoemaker.
"Throughout my days of covering sports in West Virginia, I've always had a fondness for Marshall University," said Martin. “This is a nice opportunity for our stations. It gives us another avenue in our commitment to sports coverage in the Mountain State.
“I have a great deal of respect for both Coach Holliday and Coach Herrion and look forward to working with both of them in this setting."
Marshall will begin its 2012 slate with a Saturday, September 1 visit to West Virginia for a noon kickoff, showing on F/X Network, a branch of FOX Television.