It’s not a win-win situation for Brent Pry.
But it’s in the neighborhood.
That’s the scenario for the Virginia Tech football head coach, who spent several years of his childhood growing up in Huntington.
Pry will be coaching the Hokies against West Virginia University at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia.
There won’t be any conflict of interest for Pry, but it remains an interesting situation.
“I still have friends in West Virginia,” said Pry. “I grew up most of my life there. My dad had three or four coaching stops in the state.”
His father, Jim Pry, transferred to Marshall University from Ferrum Junior College in 1970 — the year Brent was born — and was a backup quarterback. The elder Pry went on to serve as an MU graduate assistant coach in 1973-74 and earned his master’s degree in 1975.
Then the Pry family spent time in Montgomery, with Jim coaching at West Virginia Tech and serving as head coach at Lewis County High School. Brent was 10 years old at the time.
So, yes, the Virginia Tech coach has West Virginia roots to go along with his Virginia connections.
“Personally, my first football game was West Virginia and Penn State at WVU — my first college game,” recalled the younger Pry. “So again, I don’t get caught up in the emotions of it, but know it means a lot to a lot of people in this area and I respect that.”
That’s because Pry sees many similarities between Virginia Tech and WVU.
“They are like-minded institutions in a lot of ways,” he said. “The football programs, the schools ... there are so many folks, like what I hear all the time at Penn State.
“They are in close enough proximity that you have a brother who went to West Virginia and a sister goes to Tech. Or, my mom went to West Virginia and my son goes to Tech. There are just a lot of relationships that cross over. It makes for an interesting matchup, for sure.”
Pry even has friends on WVU’s coaching staff.
“Their defensive line coach was just a fantastic grad assistant for me at Penn State — Andrew Jackson,” said Pry. “So I’m very happy to see the success he’s having. We helped him get that job.
“Then Jeff Koontz, the linebacker coach, is a longtime family friend. His dad was a longtime junior college coach in the south, so there are some ties there with the staff.”
There are ties with the Mountain State in general.
“Certainly a lot of friends I went to elementary and junior high school with are West Virginia people,” said Pry. “And they go every week [to WVU games], so the Facebook messages are blowing up right now about the game.
“It’s a big game for both communities. We recruit a lot of the same players, so that’s a piece of it. And we know a lot about each other.”
Why, Virginia Tech’s quarterback, Grant Wells, is even a West Virginia native.
Final analysis? Look for WVU to earn a 27-20 victory and keep the Black Diamond Trophy.
Meanwhile, Marshall University makes its debut in the Sun Belt Conference, traveling to Troy State at 7 p.m. Saturday in Alabama.
And guess what? MU head coach Charles Huff sees similarities between Troy and the Herd.
“They honestly look like us,” said Huff. “They play really hard. Moving into the Sun Belt is a different feel for our guys.”
Although both teams are coming off losses, Huff prefers to find the silver lining in MU’s 34-31 overtime loss at Bowling Green.
“The first thing I said in the locker room was this was the best thing that could have happened to us,” said Huff. “I think it’s good that it happened sooner rather than later.”
So, will MU win on the road in its Sun Belt debut? No. The Herd will lose, 28-21.