Virginia governor lobbies for alma mater at game

Rumor has it, Virginia governor and GW alum Mark Warner was having trouble finding a ticket to last night’s men’s basketball game.

“That’s so bogus,” said a smiling Warner, who assured that a Washington Post blurb about him struggling to secure a seat was indeed, facetious. He was there, neon-orange tie and all, three rows from the court and sitting next to fellow GW grad Mark Plotkin, a political commentator for WTOP.

Warner (’77) received a loud ovation from the crowd after his face appeared on the video board. The governor said he tries to get to at least a few Colonials games a season, but his attendance often depends on convenience. He sat courtside at GW’s ugly loss to Richmond in the state capital on Jan. 22.

“At first, they announced me as governor and everybody cheered,” said Warner, who still plays hoops on occasion. “Then they announced me as a GW graduate. The student section started to boo pretty quickly.”

During the weekend in Richmond, he hosted a group of friends and rented a gym for a pick-up game for a group of his friends from the D.C. area. Some even stayed at the governor’s mansion.

“You’ll never imagine how easy it is to get a basketball court if you’re the governor,” Warner said.

It’s unclear what kind of player he is outside of the political arena, but as a fan, he appeared subdued. He is quite a foil for some of the screamers in his section.

“I don’t want to be one of those guys,” said Warner, who attended his share of games as a student.

When he attended GW, John Holloran led the Colonials to a 14-12 record and a spot in the ECBL Tournament in 1977 after averaging 21.4 points per game during the regular season. Warner’s personal favorite game that year was played at Cole Fieldhouse, not the Smith Center. In an 86-76 win over Maryland, Holloran racked up 38 points.

Before halftime ended, he focused his attention to baseball. With pitchers and catchers reporting this week, the Montreal Expos have officially morphed into the Washington Nationals.

“I wish baseball would’ve come to Virginia,” he said. “But I’m still glad the District’s got it.”

-Alan Siegel

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