Two of a kind.
That’s what Shane Lyons and Mike Hamrick are.
Lyons is a Parkersburg native and was a basketball star at Parkersburg High School. He graduated from West Virginia University with both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and now serves as the Mountaineers athletic director.
He’s a native of Clendenin and was a football star at Herbert Hoover High School. He was a scholarship football player at Marshall University, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and now serves as the Thundering Herd’s athletic director.
Hamrick and Lyons are so similar one might think they are related.
“Shane’s mother was a Hamrick,” said MU’s athletic director. “If you say we are distant relatives, it would be correct.”
So, is it any surprise that Lyons and Hamrick also share the same perspective on facilities?
“I believe facilities make a difference in our program,” said Lyons during a press conference on Wednesday in Morgantown. “I’ll continue to believe that. I’ll continue to push that.
“I’m not going to stop my vision of where this place could be.”
Why, Hamrick couldn’t have said it better himself.
“Facilities are your future,” he said. “You continue to upgrade your facilities or you are going to get left behind. In our case, we didn’t have a soccer facility, per se. We didn’t have an indoor track. We didn’t have an indoor facility. We didn’t have a hall of fame. We didn’t have an academic center. We didn’t have a sports medicine institute.
“And, obviously, we don’t have a baseball stadium, but our hope is within two or three years we’ll have one.”
They are like two ADs in a pod.
In fact, they even serve together as members of the important NCAA Football Oversight Committee.
“Shane and I, I think, are similar,” said Hamrick. “He cares deeply about his university and wants to see it progress. He’s a native West Virginian and he went to school there [WVU].
“I’m the same way. I’m a native West Virginian and I went to school here [at Marshall]. It’s unique that we both went away for a while, but then we came back.
“That’s a great point.”
Indeed, it is.
It’s so unusual, yet so fortunate, that the two major college universities in the state of West Virginia have native sons and alums as their athletic directors.
“I think that’s a plus,” said Hamrick. “I think he cares dearly about West Virginia University just like I care dearly about Marshall University. I don’t think either one of us would be where we are today without our fine universities.
“We both have very difficult, tough jobs, but when you’re an alum, it means more to you than when you’re not.”
Yet, it’s not just that both care about their alma maters. The essence is both care about their state.
“Absolutely,” said Hamrick. “In my case, I’ve never been interested in moving on or going anywhere else. I would probably say the same about Shane. He’s home. He’s from Parkersburg. I’m from Clendenin. We’re both home. He’s really got some good things going on and we’ve done some good things.
“And, you know, I always check and see what he’s doing up there and I’m sure he sees what we’re doing. I just think it is good for the state of West Virginia.”
The combination of Lyons and Hamrick is … well, Almost Heaven.