When football is…

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    among our least competitive sports on the national scene you would have to say the athletic department is in good hands.

    Still in desperate need of funding but Luck’s leveraging revenues to go “all in” has resulted in some great coaching hires, good dismissals, aggressive spending… etc.

    Tonights baseball won over Tech on the heels of golf team one hole from doing something far beyond expectations if not belief led to this post.

    WVU has developed a very, very strong athletic programs across the board.

    Kudos to Luck and now Lyons for the vision and hard work required to make this happen.

    A far cry from just 15 years ago.


    Agreed. Well Said.


    My memories go back to Red Brown.  Indeed, each in his own way, we have been well and truly blessed with our ADs over the years.  Each had great hires, not so great hires, and some tweeners.  Each had their own financial philosophies and for the most part (some exceptions, but few) they turned out to be the right philosophies for the time period involved.  Debates can rage over any particular AD and some action that they took that raised controversy, but these were single acts within a greater total volume of work.  And based upon the total volume of work of each, NONE of our ADs since and including Red Brown have been failures – none of them.  That in and of itself speaks to the overall strength of the Mountaineer program and to our continued respected standing within the college athletic world.

    A few acts by WVU ADs over the years that stick out in my memory (admittedly a positive list):

    • Red Brown guiding us through the debacle after our first rejection for ACC membership and keeping WVU relevant when we very easily could have become a mid-major as a result of that exclusion.
    • Dick Martin hiring Don Nehlen.
    • Ed Pastilong hiring Nikki Izzo Brown – like Covich, she began from scratch with women’s soccer to having reached the NCAA championship game.
    • Ed Pastilong executing one of the best 2nd choice hires with John Beilein after he who shall remain nameless left town before they took down the stage from his hiring presser.
    • Ed Pastilong hiring Bob Huggins – agreed he had much help in this endeavor, but most importantly he did not stonewall the process.
    • Oliver Luck hiring Randy Mazey – this gift just keeps on giving and I hope we can keep him here until he wants to retire.
    • Oliver Luck hiring Sean Covich – with 20-20 hindsight this was an inspired hire.
    • And a prediction for this list – Shane Lyons hiring Neal Brown – my old gut feels really good about this hire too.

    You can disagree all you want, but Luck hiring Dana Holgorsen was a good move since we were going to be transitioning into the Big12.


    I won’t touch that statement with a 10 foot pole.  All I will say is that the Big XII is no mystery football wise.  To pretend otherwise is just not sound reasoning.


    Good stuff mexman


    Nice thread here!

    As far as the current status, I am hoping that tennis can get to at least respectable status – it’s the one program that is really bad right now. Wrestling sufffers by comparison for being in the Big 12, but I think it’s a few higher notches that tennis at the moment.


    Nice thread here!

    As far as the current status, I am hoping that tennis can get to at least respectable status – it’s the one program that is really bad right now. Wrestling sufffers by comparison for being in the Big 12, but I think it’s a few higher notches that tennis at the moment.


    “Kudos to Luck and now Lyons for the vision and hard work required to make this happen.”


    The next big step is to raise the $100 million goal for the Climbing Higher campaign, which will fund a number of hoped for improvements. Getting the golf facility going and completing the new weight room complex between the Coliseum and the Wrestling\Gymnastics\Shell complex are the two bigges for me.


    I have not yet decided whether Dana’s hire was a good move for football.  It appeared to me that too often Dana was a coach engaged in OJT.  And wasn’t always successful.

    I believed the Mountaineers would have been more successful if the Mountaineers had hired a coach who had head coaching experience.  Sometimes, it appeared to me that he was a good offensive coordinator, but a poor CEO.

    Being a head coach includes working with all aspects of the game, and being able to motivate the staff and the players.  I didn’t too often see that aspect of his ability.  Overall, I didn’t see his recruiting expertise.

    Of course, I may be proven wrong.  Perhaps,  Brown who has head coaching experience may fall flat on his face.  We shall see.  But, from what I’ve seen from Brown, he appears more organized in all aspects of his position.  But, again the Mountaineers haven’t played one game under his leadership.  Will the Mountaineers be more or less successful under Brown?


    Very good assessment.  Brown we think will be more successful, but it will take time.  This coming year is more of a rebuild than some appear to think.


    I think my biggest take away of the Holgorsen years is that his teams mirrored him.

    Passionate yet immature.

    The highs were quite high and lows very low and most importantly almost always falling short of expectations.


    Agreed on needing to raise $100M for the Climbing Higher campaign.  Facilities are the lifeblood of recruiting and recruiting is the lifeblood of program strength.

    I thought the premise of getting an O-coordinator familiar with Big XII offensive strategy was a good thing at the time of Dana’s hire.  But replacing Stew who could recruit, manage the program, and motivate a team & staff was ill advised.  Big XII football is no mystery, it just takes the ability to score at the same frequency as these prolific offenses.  The whole coach in waiting thing was flawed from the get go, it crashed and burned, and divided the fan base.  This was not Luck’s shining moment.  His moments were his work in getting us to the Big XII and his later hires of Mazey and Covich.


    Spot on MI.

    Conceptually the Holgorsen hire was forward thinking but the execution was flawed. That said part of that is on Stew. Luck Identified his guy and didn’t have the luxury of time to groom him properly under a good man. Holgs has other options.

    Luck’s legacy is Big XII and his finest moments may well prove to be Mazey and Covich.


    For my money, from a very limited ability to assess, as only observing from afar.  It seems to be that the strengths of the 2 most recent football coaches show that, in my opinion, Dana’s better upside will be realized by moving to the next level as an Offensive Coordinator.

    Think what you will of him, he knows how to attack a defense and get them on their heels.  I think Neal Brown has the better probability of an upside of Head Coach at the Collegiate level.  Better organizational skills to fully manage a program.


    WVUFaninMI, we can agree to disagree on a few of your items.  IMO Pastilong was merely a puppet for the Good Old Boy network.  Yes, he hired Nikki Izzo Brown, but it wasn’t till we started putting cash into the program that she took it to another level.  Let’s not even get into the hiring of Beilein and Huggins.  Fast Eddie screwed up the replacement of Cat twice.  Yes, twice.  First he didn’t garner the support needed to bring Huggs in the first time and then settled for Dakich…… Luckily he bailed ….. Then the Big East had to hand us Beilein.  Pastilong had nothing to do with the recruiting of Pastilong, BE coaches and offices guided him to us at the last minute.  Then Huggins was suddenly available when Beilein bailed 5 years later.  And then there was the lack of holding other program HC’s accountable.  Baseball anyone?

    Let’s not even discuss the hiring of Stewart fiasco.  Good position coaches don’t necessarily make good HC’s.  Agreed that his removal wasn’t handled correctly.  Could have worked if Stewart didn’t go off the deep end.  We should have immediately put him in an administrative position and hired a qualified, seasoned HC.

    Now the discussion around Holgs may turn out to be different.  I was always a Holgs supporter, but  agree that his results never reached the heights we thought they should.  Way too much turnover in coaching.  Losing very good position coaches.  And not a fan of the 3-3-5 they way he played it.  Bend but don’t break D broke too often.


    Ah yes, Butler we shall with respect and civility to one another agree to disagree.  Every AD we’ve had in my lifetime had strengths and weaknesses – every single one of them.  Eddie is certainly no exception, but neither are the likes of Legs Hawley, Red Brown, Leland Byrd, Dick Martin, Fred Schaus, Oliver Luck, and Shane Lyons.

    Some examples:

    • Legs Hawley got duped when the ACC was formed into believing that we’d be included, yet he had the “vision” to hire Pappy Lewis for football.
    • Red Brown had a great run – hiring Jim Carlen, promoting Bobby Bowden to HC, hiring Fred Schaus, and hiring George King.  It is hard to find negatives with Red except promoting Gene Corum to HC, but the one that might be at least argued was not finding a way to be the peace maker between Joe Paterno and Johnny Majors when Majors screwed up Paterno’s proposed Eastern All Sports Conference.  If that deal had gone down, the succeeding decades of WVU history would have had a decidedly different look.
    • Leland Byrd is a hard one for whom to find positives in that he promoted one Frank Cignetti Sr to HC, but in desperately seeking a positive to say, Cignetti was an excellent recruiter and he left enough in the cupboard for Nehlen to get a good start to his tenure.  He also hired Joedy Gardner and Gale Catlett was hired in 1978 and I can’t remember if it was Byrd or Martin that hired The Cat.
    • Dick Martin wasn’t here long, but he did hire Don Nehlen, presided over the building of the new football stadium, and if my tired old memory serves me right, I think his son had a hand in designing the Flying WV logo.
    • Fred Schaus did more presiding and guiding than hiring – at least for the two money makers.  He did not hire a football HC nor a basketball HC.  Those thankless, onerous tasks he left to his hand picked successor.
    • Ah and poor underappreciated Eddie Pastilong.  Poor guy cannot buy a break with the fan base – and admittedly he brought much of that upon himself.  But be that as it may – and with help from within and without and with guidance of Almighty God – he did manage to hire John Beilein, Bob Huggins, Rich Rodriguez, Nikki Izzo Brown, and Bill Stewart.  All of whom either remain with or when they left they had winning records.
    • Oliver Luck had two stellar hires in Randy Mazey and Sean Covich.  He guided us to the Big XII soft landing spot.  None of these accomplishments are any mean feats, in that we were on the last gasp for a conference home, our baseball program was a joke and our golf program had been written off years before.  However, his mishandling of the football change was very poorly executed and frankly there was no little amount of pressure from a fractious fan base and a somewhat egocentric university president to make a change and make it “yesterday”.
    • Shane Lyons has made two hires – Tim Flynn for wrestling and Neal Brown for football.  I am very optimistic about both of these hires and I think the future will have us looking back on these as great decisions.  He is also taking the lead on the Climbing Higher fund raising campaign, so he is demonstrating a vision for the future.  Time will tell 1) if we can achieve the campaign goals and 2) if his vision is 20/20 or flawed.

    And for all the “VISION” discussion, no mention of the only
    NC in WvVU history, no mention of the rifle team!?


    For the life of me, I still don’t understand how or why the rifle team was disbanded.

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