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Saints march into W.Va, along with tourism dollars

Register-Herald photo by Rick Barbero Jim Justice, CEO of The Greenbrier resort, right, has his arm around James Nagaoka, director of operation for the New Orleans Saints, while he was speaking at the Capitol about House Bill 4184, a tourism development act signed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin Thursday afternoon. Also pictured from left, Roman Prezioso, chairman Senate floor committee, Jeff Kessler, Senate president, Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints head coach, Tim Miley, speaker of the House, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
Register-Herald photo by Rick Barbero
Jim Justice, CEO of The Greenbrier resort, right, has his arm around James Nagaoka, director of operations for the New Orleans Saints, while he speaks at the Capitol about House Bill 4184, a tourism development act signed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin Thursday afternoon. Also pictured, from left, are Roman Prezioso, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; Jeff Kessler, Senate president; Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints head coach; Tim Miley, speaker of the House; and Tomblin.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton doesn’t just see Greenbrier County as a place to practice. The Super Bowl-winning coach sees southern West Virginia as the Saints’ new second home.

Payton, who was at the Capitol building in Charleston Thursday to witness Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s signing of a new tourism development act — which helped bring the Saints training camp to The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs — said the Saints will quickly become part of the community for the three weeks they’re in town each summer and well beyond.

“Good training camps aren’t about facilities,” said Payton, preparing for his ninth season as the Saints’ head coach. “It’s the relationship the organization has with the people that are hosting the camp and vice versa. I think you’ll love meeting our players. That’s one of the things we pride ourselves on.

“When we go to training camp, everything goes. We’re talking computers, video, weights, office desks, etc. We travel truck loads and literally bring the organization to a spot.”

It was a festive atmosphere Thursday as Payton, wearing a Super Bowl ring that couldn’t be missed, and Greenbrier owner Jim Justice walked to the podium to speak as a trumpeter blared, “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

“This is exciting news for West Virginia,” Tomblin said of the move first envisioned by Saints general manger Mickey Loomis three years ago. “This new state-of-the-art facility will offer a tremendous opportunity not only for the team that will practice, but for us, the people of the Mountain State, to showcase everything our state has to offer.”

Payton’s team will arrive at The Greenbrier in late July…

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