Cavaliers upgrade to riding in (somewhat) style

September, 22, 2008
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- I'm not suggesting the lads at West Coast Customs couldn't still work some magic on the University of Virginia's team bus (flip-up bowling alley in the aisle, perhaps?), but a rolling two-star hotel wasn't what I expected to find in the parking lot behind the West Virginia Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.

The old yellow school bus, this most definitely is not.

While waiting for the Cavaliers to wrap up practice, Virginia assistant media relations director Steve Kirkland let me step aboard the team's charter bus for a glimpse at what has to be among the best set-ups in women's soccer. In addition to the familiar rows of chairs in the front half, the bus has couches in the rear half and sleeping bunks where luggage racks normally sit. Throw in flip-down, flat-screens hooked up to satellite television and power outlets throughout to plug in a laptop to get some work done and suddenly life on the road in the ACC doesn't seem quite so bad (although the Cavaliers still take to the air for the truly long hauls to Boston College or the Florida schools).

Virginia coach Steve Swanson said the team had been chartering the sleeper buses through Abbott Trailways for four or five years. But for a guy who has been on the road for the past 25 years as a player or coach, including stints as the coach at Dartmouth and Stanford prior to arriving in Charlottesville, comfort has long topped his wish list.

"I've been thinking about it for about 10 years, though," Swanson laughed. "I've been playing soccer and on the road so much, and always it's been with very limited budgets. So I've been trying to find ways to figure out if we could get out of that."

No doubt all involved would have gladly traded the bus for a win after Sunday's disappointing result against West Virginia, but at least they had somewhere to sleep it off on the way home.

( See the layout for yourself on the charter company's site )

Graham Hays covers college sports for espnW, including softball and soccer. Hays began with ESPN in 1999.



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