Concord Charlie predicts early spring

Coach Garin Justice serves as Grand Groundhog Watcher at

Annual Concord University Breakfast

It’s official! Concord Charlie has predicted an early spring.

Concord University President Dr. Kendra Boggess relayed the famed groundhog’s weather forecast to guests gathered for 37th Annual Concord University Groundhog Day Breakfast held Monday, Feb. 2, in University Point’s Pais Fellowship Hall on the Athens campus.

President Kendra Boggess informed those at the breakfast that Charlie told her early this morning that “we can look forward to an early spring because there simply was no sunshine to be seen.” The president told the crowd how she had been “studying” groundhogs and learned they are known in some circles as “whistle pigs” and in others as “woodchucks.” She said, “you learn a lot when a groundhog burrows in your office all year long.”

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.

Concord Charlie has been the official predictor of the coming of spring for 37 years on Groundhog Day at the Campus Beautiful.

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.

Charlie shared the spotlight at the breakfast with the 2015 Grand Groundhog Watcher, Mountain Lion Head Football Coach Garin Justice. Justice led Concord University through an unprecedented season in 2014 that included a conference championship, region championship and an appearance in the national semifinals. For these accomplishments in 2014, he was named the Mountain East Conference Coach of the Year and the Don Hansen Football Gazette Super Region One Coach of the Year.

Justice inspired the group by speaking about overcoming adversity, beating the odds and never giving up. The theme of his talk was “Living in Vision… Not in Circumstance.” He said, “I am humbled and honored to be named the Grand Groundhog Watcher although I’m not exactly sure what my duties are with that title. I am here today because our team was great – not because ‘I’ was great.”


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