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No Winners Emerged in WVU Situation

June 18, 2011
By DOUG HUFF - Sports Columnist , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY.

After having a week to digest all of the recent bizarre happenings with the Mountaineers Athletics Department, here's some observations, opinions, etc.

(1) The planned football coach-in-waiting situation by first-year athletics director OLIVER LUCK obviously didn't work. And that shouldn't surprise several people who had serious doubts about the situation from the get-go.

(2) No football season in Mountaineers history will be under the microscope, and scrutinized, more than in 2011. This includes the change of coaching leadership and the plan proposed by Luck to sell beer inside Puskar Stadium at home games. Both moves could go well or one or both could implode, which would reflect badly on WVU and the powers-that-be that created the moves. The opening home game Sept. 4 vs. Marshall could prove interesting.

(3) The decision of the WVU Board of Governors to OK Luck's proposal for beer sales inside the Stadium shouldn't surprise anyone since he was a member of the Board before being named athletics director and would obviously have support from former associates and friends. The vote was 10-5 and one who opposed the plan was Wheeling attorney WILLIAM WILMOTH. There are valid reasons why 86 NCAA Division-I colleges don't offer beer sales at home games.

(4) New head coach DANA HOLGORSEN was the subject of several media reports about late-night social activity. Some were accurate, some partially true, and others just plain false. In checking with an Oklahoma reporter who covered Oklahoma State, his previous employer, we found no similar public activity. ''He was a loner and lived in a hotel,'' the reporter noted.

(5) Former head coach BILL STEWART has to be held accountable for any of his decisions after he was informed of the coaching change. On the field, his WVU coaching legacy will include the second-highest winning percentage in school history for coaches with more than one season. Stewart's 70-percent mark trails only College Football Hall of Famer CLARENCE (DOC) SPEARS in the WVU record books. Spears won 80.8 percent from 1921-24.

(6) I've covered seven WVU football coaches, and six athletics directors, and can't recall any similar situations to what has transpired during the last six months. WVU, however, has had its share of controversy in recent years including the early exit of men's basketball coach GALE CATLETT and the brief hire of DAN DAKICH. On a wider college front, the controversies touched an ex-Governor and former WVU president.

(7) Overall, no winners emerged in the recent events. Only time will decide the outcome as things play out.

SMORGASPORTS:

(1) West Virginia, Ohio State and Penn State are three of the 22 NCAA Division-I public colleges who run self-sufficient athletics programs, according to USA Today research.

(2) Rising Steubenville Big Red senior NAGEE MURRAY has accepted a football grant-in-aid to Ohio State. The defensive back, who was a member of the Big Red 800 relay unit that set a Division-II meet record time in winning gold this spring, is the third Steubenville player coached by RENO SACCOCCIA to sign with OSU. He joins CHARLIE KEENAN and BUSTER TILLMAN in the Buckeyes fold.

(3) Belated congratulations to the three Ohio Valley teams that captured state championships this spring - Steubenville Catholic in girls' track, Magnolia in boys' track, and Wheeling Central in baseball.

(4) Enjoy the Father's Day weekend.

 
 

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