Virginia-Wise announced Monday that the Cavaliers and East Tennessee State football teams have agreed to play at ETSU’s Greene Stadium in the 2021, 2024 and 2027 seasons.
The programs’ inaugural meeting is scheduled for Sept. 11, 2021. The game also will be the schools’ first meeting in any sport since the Cavs traveled to Freedom Hall to face the Bucs in a men’s basketball exhibition game in November 2015.
NCAA Division II Virginia-Wise, a member of the South Atlantic Conference, went 2-9 last season. FCS school ETSU was 3-9 in 2019 after coach Randy Sanders’ Bucs earned a share of the conference championship in 2018.
Playing ETSU will increase UVA Wise’s stock in the region, Cavs coach Dane Damron said.
“We are very excited about our upcoming series against ETSU,” Damron said in a release from the college. “These games will allow us to establish the UVA Wise brand in Eastern Tennessee, which is a vital recruiting ground for our program.
“Coach Sanders has taken his program to a high level and we understand what we will be up against. Our players will be enthusiastic about this and it will allow the people of Southwest Virginia to travel and watch us play in a great environment.”
CLOSE TO HOME
For about a dozen underclassmen from Northeast Tennessee on the UVA Wise roster, the 2021 game will be another chance to show their talents close to home.
Former Happy Valley standout Austin Hicks, a transfer from ETSU, will be on track for his senior season in the fall of 2021. Hicks was a diamond on the field for the Cavs last year as a sophomore, recording 91 tackles. His average of 8.3 tackles per game ranked second in the SAC.
Another East Tennessee native playing for the Cavs is former Dobyns-Bennett star Lendon Redwine. As a true freshman last season, Redwine saw action in six games, including a start against Catawba where he directed the UVA Wise offense to a 21-14 victory, the first SAC win in the program’s history.