“We regret the loss of this important city,” commented Governor Granholm, “but we feel it is only right that we repay the people of Virginia for providing our athletic programs with such a rich source of new coaching leaders.”
In the past year, the University of Michigan has hired away the head coaches of West Virginia University’s football and men’s basketball teams. Michigan’s athletic department is also in discussions with Nikki Izzo-Brown, WVU’s women’s soccer coach.
The near systematic raiding of West Virginia’s finest coaches is unprecedented in the history of college athletics. Yet for many long-time residents, the “poaching” of the state’s most valuable resources is an all-too-familiar characteristic of living in West Virginia.
“For decades,” commented Doug Moneypenny of the West Virginia Historical Association “wealthier interests from the northeast and midwest have exploited West Virginia’s resources for out-of-state economic benefit, particularly our coal, natural gas, and timber resources.”
“This is part of the same pattern of resource removal that West Virginians have dealt with since the state was founded during the Civil War,” added Moneypenny. “At least this time our people are receiving something valuable in return.”
“We would have been far more pleased with our first choice—the Upper Peninsula,” commented West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin. “The UP provides some excellent hunting, fishing, and ATV opportunities, and the people of our state would have been more comfortable with adding this territory to the great state of West Virginia.”
“However,” added Governor Manchin, “Detroit is closer.”
Founded in 1760 as Fort Detroit by the British, the city flourished as the hub of the American auto industry during much of the 20th century. Today the city bustles with cosmopolitan attractions such as the Detroit Science Center, the Detroit Symphony, and the Detroit Museum. The city is home to major professional sports teams in baseball, basketball, and ice hockey. In 2006, the city was the site of Super Bowl XL.
With the addition of the 951,000 citizens of Detroit to the state’s existing 1.8 million citizens, West Virginia increases its population by more than 65%. The acquisition of the city also increases the murder rate of the state by 455%. In 2006, 75 murders were committed in West Virginia. In the same year, Detroit experienced 417 homicides.
Image: Detriot residents celebrate the city's transfer to the state of West Virginia.