Concord Charlie predicts six more weeks of winter

Shown from left to right at the Groundhog Day Breakfast are Director of Alumni and Donor Relations Sarah Turner, President Kendra Boggess and Coach Dave Walker, Grand Groundhog Watcher

ATHENS, WV (WOAY) – Concord Charlie is calling for six more weeks of winter. That’s the news guests at Concord University’s 41st Groundhog Day Breakfast heard as they gathered in University Point’s Pais Fellowship Hall this morning.

Concord President Kendra Boggess relayed the message from the University’s famed weather prognosticator, saying that groundhog Charlie saw his shadow.

According to Groundhog Day tradition, if the groundhog sees his shadow the morning of Feb. 2, six more weeks of winter can be expected. An early spring will be on the way if he doesn’t see his shadow. With Feb. 2 being on the weekend this year, Concord Charlie decided to move his announcement to Feb. 3 for 2020.  Charlie has a standing appointment with the University’s President each year to offer his predictions and insights on the duration of winter. The President then relays the forecast to the breakfast guests.

Dr. Boggess said that Charlie confided in her that although the area has had some mild days, winter weather is on the way.

The Concord Charlie tradition was originated in 1978 by the late Professor R.T. “Tom” Hill. As chairman of both the geography department and the Appalachian Studies program at Concord, Hill started the Groundhog Day Breakfast as a means to celebrate a bit of Appalachian heritage and highlight the program.

Joining Concord Charlie in the spotlight this year was 2020 Grand Groundhog Watcher Dave Walker. As the Mountain Lions new head football coach, Walker comes to campus from Martinsburg High School in Martinsburg, W.Va. where he built the Bulldogs into one of the most successful programs in the entire history of high school football in the state. The title of Grand Groundhog Watcher is bestowed on an individual who has positively impacted life and culture in West Virginia.

Reflecting on his career and accomplishments, Walker said, “I’ve been asked to do a lot of things…but I’ve never been a groundhog watcher before.”

Claiming his fourth consecutive Class AAA State Championship in 2019, Walker led Martinsburg to 56 straight wins – the second-longest active winning streak in the entire country –before assuming the head coaching role at Concord. Under his leadership at Martinsburg, the Bulldogs have won a total of eight state championships (2010-13, 2016-19) while playing in a total of 12 state championship games since 2001.

A native of Pineville, W.Va., Walker received his undergraduate degree from Glenville State in 1988. He earned master’s degrees from Shenandoah University in Education (1997) and Administration (2002). At GSC, he was a two-time All-West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) offensive lineman in 1986 and 1987. At the conclusion of his career, he received Glenville State’s Montrose Award – an honor given out to the top senior student-athlete for performance in competition as well as service and leadership off the playing field.

Walker explained why the role of leading the Mountain Lions appealed to him. “I think for me it’s all about the challenge. I needed a new challenge,” he said. “It’s about being productive, about being useful, about making a difference.”

“I have high expectations for this fall,” he said looking toward Concord’s 2020 football season.

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