Coach Garin Justice Named Grand Groundhog Watcher For Annual Concord University Breakfast

For Immediate Release: 
Jan 15 2015

CONTACT:  Sarah Dalton

Concord University

Office of Advancement

PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712

(304) 384-6312,         





ATHENS, W.Va. – Concord University Head Football Coach Garin Justice has been named Grand Groundhog Watcher for the 37th Annual Concord University Groundhog Day Breakfast. The gathering, which includes a prediction by famed groundhog weather prophet Concord Charlie, will be held on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at 8 a.m. in the Jerry L. and Jean Beasley Student Center Ballroom on the Athens campus.

The Grand Groundhog Watcher honor is bestowed on an individual who has positively impacted life and culture in West Virginia.

Justice led the Mountain Lions through an unprecedented season in 2014 that included a conference championship, region championship and an appearance in the national semifinals.

Justice completed his fourth season as Concord University’s head football coach in 2014. He was named the 18th Mountain Lion head coach on Jan. 7, 2011.

Since coming to Concord, Justice has led the rejuvenation of a program that had gone 0-11 as recently as 2008. During his years as head coach, Justice has compiled a record of 35-12 (.744), already the second highest winning percentage and fifth most wins by a head coach in CU history.

Additionally, Justice has led the Mountain Lions to two conference championships and two NCAA Division II playoff appearances. In 2014, the Mountain Lions won the most games in school history (13) while also making an appearance in the NCAA semifinals. Under Justice’s guidance, CU won its first playoff games in school history defeating West Chester (51-36) and Bloomsburg (32-26) which gave Concord its first Super Region One Championship.

At Concord, Justice’s teams have been known for their nationally-ranked defense as well as an offensive strategy that has provided the Mountain Lions the opportunity to win through an aerial attack or via a ground-based offense depending upon personnel.

On Justice’s watch 73 players have been All-West Virginia Athletic Conference or All-Mountain East Conference selections while two athletes earned WVIAC Defensive Players of the Year accolades in addition to 18 all-region selections and eight All-Americans honorees.

The 2014 season was one of the best for the Mountain Lions. Not only did Concord set school records in wins (13), but Justice was also named Mountain East Conference Coach of the Year. This was his second league coach of the year award in four seasons at Concord. Justice also coaches the offensive line at Concord and tutored two All-American linemen in Rustin Mayorga and Coleman Osborne. All five of Justice’s linemen earned all-conference honors during the 2014 season while paving the way for MEC Offensive Player of the Year Calvinaugh Jones.

A native of Gilbert, W.Va., Justice became known in his home state as a three-year starting offensive tackle at West Virginia University. He was captain of the 2005 Mountaineer squad that went 11-1, defeated Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and ended the season as the fifth best team in the country according to the final AP Poll.

That season, Justice earned All-Big East honors and was a Sporting News second team All-American. He was also the Big East Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Justice graduated from West Virginia University in 2006 with a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree.

Justice originally came to Concord in January of 2009 as the offensive line coach and strength and conditioning coordinator. Prior to his arrival in Athens, Justice spent two seasons at Florida State University as an offensive graduate assistant, offensive videographer, and weight room graduate assistant. Justice helped develop four freshmen All-Americans and two All-Atlantic Coastal Conference performers. He completed his master’s degree from Florida State in sports administration in 2008.

He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at West Virginia University in 2006 where he worked with the offensive line and helped Dan Mozes win the Rimington Award as the nation’s best center.

Justice married the former Casie Coughlin at Concord University on July 7, 2012. The couple’s first child, Juliet Blake, was born on May 20, 2014.

Justice will address the Groundhog Day Breakfast audience sharing the spotlight with Concord Charlie. 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 relays the forecast to the breakfast guests.

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.

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.

Cost per person for this year’s breakfast is $12 in advance for current members of the Concord University Alumni Association and $12 in advance for Concord faculty, staff and students. Cost to attend the breakfast is $13 in advance for all others. All tickets at the door are $15.

Advance reservations must be made by Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. Reservations are requested and may be made online at (click on the Groundhog Day Breakfast billboard), by emailing or calling 304-384-6311.

For additional information about the breakfast including payment options contact the Concord University Office of Advancement at 304-384-6311 or


 **A photograph of Coach Justice, a Concord Charlie logo and a list of Grand Groundhog Watchers are also part of this press release and are attached below.



Coach Garin Justice







2015, Coach Garin Justice

Head Football Coach, Concord University

2014, Mr. Greg Puckett

Advocate for youth, community servant, Concord alumnus

2013, Ms. Lou Stoker

Volunteer, playwright, actress, community leader

2012, Mr. Pete Ballard

Artist, educator, Concord alumnus

2011, Mr. Scott A. Martin

Film industry personality – actor, director, producer, started Sorry Dog Productions in 1998

2010, Ms. Beverly Wellman

Executive Director, Retired, Mercer County Convention & Visitors Bureau

2009, Gen. Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, USAF (Ret.)

United States Air Force General (Retired); Executive Director, Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation (ALEF)

2008, Mr. Everett Lilly (deceased)

West Virginia bluegrass artist and inductee into the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Honor

2007, Ms. Barbara Hawkins

Political correspondent, columnist, investigative reporter

2006, Ms. Kate Long

Writer, bluegrass musician

2005, Mr. Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams

Congressional Medal of Honor recipient

2004, Dr. Ancella Bickley

West Virginian and African American educator, historian and author

2003, Dr. Jay Banks

Retired physician and author, lives in Union, W.Va., with his wife, “Marty”

2002, Dr. J. Douglas Machesney

Concord’s Vice President for Development from 1986 through 2002

2001, Mr. Andy Ridenour, Mr. Larry Groce

Ridenour is originally from Washington, D.C.; Groce is originally from Texas; and both are with West Virginia Public Radio

2000, Mr. Andrew Paterno

President and Chief Executive Officer of Acordia Mid-Atlantic, a Concord alumnus and Kanawha County native

1999, Mr. Jerry Jarrell

Retired Director of the National Hurricane Center, a Concord alumnus and Raleigh County native

1998, Recent Concord Retirees

Harold Bailey, John Seago, Paul Morgan (deceased), Bill Ryan, Bill Wells, Beryle Santon (deceased), Violet Martin (deceased), Kevin O’Sullivan (deceased), Ed Lowe, Dale Geiger, Carl Chapman, Shelva Rarick, Bernard Kiernan (deceased), Karl Fezer, Kenneth Baker (deceased)

1997, Dr. J. Elliott Blaydes, Jr.

Retired Bluefield eye specialist and philanthropist

1996, Mr. Frankie Ferrante (deceased)

Owned Mercer County restaurant, Frankie’s La Salute, and was an active civic and community leader

1995, Mr. Thomas Conlin

Former West Virginia Symphony Artistic Director and Conductor

1994, Ms. Denise Giardina

McDowell County native, successful novelist focusing on the vibrant culture of the coalfields

1993, Ms. Katharine Tierney (deceased)

Bluefield civic leader and longtime friend of Concord

1992, Ms. Jean Battlo

Published poet and playwright from McDowell County

1991, Ms. Nelrose Richards Price (deceased)

Retired Registrar of Concord, 41 years of service

1990, Dr. James Bailey (deceased)

Co-founder of Veterinary Associates of Princeton and a Mercer County civic leader

1989, Reverend Harry Christie (deceased)

Former pastor of Princeton Presbyterian Church

1988, Mr. R. T. Hill (deceased)

Father of the Concord Groundhog Day Breakfast and former Professor of Geography at Concord

1987, Mr. Edward J. Cabbell

Appalachian scholar, founder of the John Henry Foundation

1986, Mr. Ken Hechler

Former W.Va. Secretary of State and former Congressman

1985, George A. Daugherty

“The Earl of Elkview,” a prominent Charleston attorney

1984, Dr. Charles Kenneth Sullivan

Executive Director of the West Virginia Humanities Council

1983, Mr. James Dent (deceased)

Humor columnist and cartoonist for The Charleston Gazette

1982, Mr. Don West (deceased)

Director of the Appalachian South Folklife Center, Pipestem, W.Va.

1981, Dr. E. Meade McNeill (deceased)

Professor of Biology at Concord

1980, Mr. Shirley Donnelly (deceased)

Historian and columnist for Beckley Newspapers, Inc.

1979, Mr. Jim Comstock (deceased)

Editor of The West Virginia Hillbilly

1978, Mr. A. James Manchin (deceased)

Former Secretary of State and State Treasurer of West Virginia



Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679 extension 6086 if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.