It was never meant to be permanent.
In August 1992, after an eight-year run in Lynchburg, the executive committee of the Virginia High School Coaches Association decided to move its All-Star week to Hampton. It made sense: Busch Gardens, Water Country USA, the Historic Triangle, the beaches — a perfect spot to combine business with pleasure.
This week, the VHSCA will mark its 21st consecutive summer in Hampton Roads. Some 600 coaches and athletes from all across the commonwealth, some as far away as the very southwestern tip, will make the trip down I-64 for another round of all-star games and clinics.
But for the first time in years, there's no guarantee the games will return for a 22nd consecutive year. There is a challenger: Lynchburg.
The Hill City, as it's called, wants another shot at hosting. And in a major boost, Liberty University, with its facilities and dorms, is on board.
The VHSCA's executive committee has toured the city, the campus and the facilities. And on Wednesday, the 30-some members will vote on whether the 2014 and '15 events will be held in Hampton or Lynchburg.
"Every (site) has its strengths and weaknesses," said Hampton football coach Mike Smith, the VHSCA's executive director. "We have the beaches and the people in the city have been great to us, but a lot of people in southwestern Virginia want to move it to that area.
"It'll be fine wherever it is. Liberty University's AD (athletic director Jeff Barber) and the people there are awfully nice. Whatever the group decides, we'll make happen. Sometimes people feel change is for the good, and who's to say it's not?"
The VHSCA's current setup on the Peninsula involves help from Hampton University with dormitory space and Christopher Newport with facilities. The football game is played at Darling Stadium; the baseball game is at War Memorial Stadium. Clinic activities are held at the Hampton Roads Convention Center.
It's worked well for two decades. But Lynchburg has a nice counter-offer.
Liberty's facilities include Williams Stadium (19,200 capacity) for football and brand new Liberty Baseball Stadium (2,500). Williams' surface is FieldTurf; the baseball stadium has AstroTurf. Basketball and volleyball would be played at the Vines Center (8,085).
Soccer's home would be Osborne Stadium (1,000); softball's would be Liberty Softball Field (500).
And as for dormitory space, approximately 7,500 LU students live on campus, which would mean more than enough space for the 300 or so athletes.
Barber could not be reached for comment. But last summer, he described Liberty's arrangement as "an Olympic village" for the athletes.
"We have a chance to offer something special to the athletes and coaches," he told the Daily Press then. "They have a good situation in Hampton, too, but we just want them to know that we'd love to host if they feel it's the right move to make."
Smith has called HU "the heartbeat" for All-Star week. However, he recently learned the university might not be willing to host the athletes to the extent it has in the past. That, he said, "could play a role in the whole thing."
Though All-Star week remains an annual event, Smith acknowledges fewer coaches are attending these days. The reason, he said, is two-fold.
"There are so many satellite clinics now," he said. "Colleges have so many, and it's changed the scope of the clinic somewhat. And in addition to that, schools that used to pay for their coaches to attend aren't doing that anymore. So coaches have to pay their own way.
"When times were better and the economy was good, we'd have like 1,000 (coaches) in those days. It's changed over time. But I still think it serves a purpose."
VHSCA ALL-STAR WEEK