By JIM ROSS ∙ firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Newberry could have had a career outside West Virginia, but the Dallas Cowboys wouldn't go along.
So the former West Virginia University football player decided to live where he grew up, in Monroe County, even if the business he owns is across the state line in Virginia.
"We love Monroe County," he said. "We love Peterstown."
Newberry has roots in West Virginia.
That's where his mother's family was from, although Newberry's father grew up in nearby Bland County, Va. Newberry graduated from Peterstown High School in 1980. Then he went to play football for WVU as part of then-Coach Don Nehlen's first recruiting class.
Newberry had a good career there. He started as a cornerback in his freshman year, and by the time he graduated, he had set the school record for career interceptions. He was an honorable mention member of the All-America team.
"When I left Morgantown, I signed a free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys," Newberry recalls. "I was in their training camp, and they released me. That was 1984."
Newberry said he came back home to Petersburg to try to see what he was going to do, and he decided he needed to get a job doing something.
"A General Motors dealer not far from where I am now called and asked if I was interested in coming to work for them," he said. "They were fairly persuasive. I did go to work for them and learned a lot about the business.
"I was doing different things for them. I was finance manager for a while. I was general manager for that store for a period of time."
When the opportunity arose to buy the Ford dealership for Pearisburg, Va., in 1990, Newberry took it, and he's been there ever since.
Newberry says he tells people they probably know more about what goes on under the hood of a car than he does, but he makes sure to hire people who do know.
"Our business has been good to us," he said. "We're not a big store. I call it a mom-and-pop operation in the automobile business."
Newberry and his wife still live just outside Peterstown, which is only 12 miles from their store in Pearisburg.
"We're West Virginians," he said. "We settled there. It's a great community with wonderful people, and it's beautiful.
"We love our community and we plan on staying there."