WVU News, Notes & Rumors – 1/22
In this week’s version, we catch up with some facts and some rumors as they pertain to current and past Mountaineer coaches and players.
What ails them? First of all, a couple of present WVU coaches are battle physical ailments.
West Virginia head baseball coach Randy Mazey had surgery last summer to correct some problems he had with his back. Unfortunately the situation did not improve and in fact may be worse. Mazey remains in a good deal of pain, and it’s unclear if the 51-year-old is going to see a whole lot of improvement going forward. How it affects his ability to coach WVU’s baseball team remains to be seen.
Mountaineer men’s basketball assistant coach Ronnie Everhart had his own back problems last year, and he had surgery to help his situation last January. The procedure for Everhart seemingly has helped his back, but the Fairmont native has had further health problems. Everhart did not travel with the men’s team at times earlier this season, but he has been back on the bench full time for the last month.
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Staying Put – West Virginia assistant football coach Doug Belk reportedly interviewed for a position on the staff at Alabama last week, but at the present it appears that Belk will remain at WVU.
Bama’s Nick Saban hired former Texas Tech assistant Karl Scott as the Crimson Tide’s defensive back coach. Saban still has a couple openings on his Alabama staff, but it appears for now that Belk will not be the target for one of those jobs.
Prior to coming to West Virginia last spring, Belk had previously served two years as a graduate assistant at Alabama, so that tie certainly makes him a candidate for a future opportunity with the Tide.
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A couple of soft landings – The mess at Arizona that followed the firing of head coach Rich Rodriguez swept up many Wildcat staff members with West Virginia ties.
Two of those have found landing spots.
Arizona’s co-offensive Calvin Magee, who also oversaw the Wildcat running backs, has been hired as the offensive coordinator at New Mexico. Magee’s co-coordinator at UA, Rod Smith, also has a new job, as he’ll serve as the offensive coordinator at Illinois.
Two other members of Arizona’s coaching staff with WVU ties, Jahmile Addae (defensive backs) and Garin Justice (offensive line), have not been retained by new Wildcat head coach Kevin Sumlin, though, and are still searching for new jobs.
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Headed to Austin – Speaking of former Mountaineer assistants finding a new position, Herb Hand is going to cross paths with his old employer this fall, as he’s recently been hired to coach the offensive line at Texas. He’ll also serve as the Longhorns’ co-offensive coordinator.
After stints in the old West Virginia Conference at West Virginia Wesleyan (1991-93), Glenville State (1994-96) and Concord (1997-98), Hand followed Rich Rodriguez to Clemson to work as a G.A. for the Tigers (1999-2000). Herb made the move to Morgantown and became WVU’s tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator when Rich Rod became the Mountaineers’ head coach in 2001. Hand remained at West Virginia through 2006 when he struck out on his own. His first stop was Tulsa (2007-09), and then he joined James Franklin’s staff at Vanderbilt in 2010. Hand followed Franklin to Penn State in 2014 and remained with the Nittany Lions for two seasons before moving to Auburn in 2016. Now he’s making the shift to Texas, where he’ll match wits with his old Glenville and WVU buddy Tony Gibson, when the Mountaineers and their defensive coordinator invade Austin on Nov. 3.
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Super Bowl Bound – There have been 17 different WVU alums who have played in Super Bowls over the years.
Starting with the very first one in 1967, when Ken Herock’s Oakland Raiders lost to the Green Bay Packers, up to the 2015 Super Bowl, when Bruce Irvin’s Seattle Seahawks fell in a heartbreaker to the New England Patriots, Mountaineers have been on the field in 20 of the 51 Super Bowls to this point, including nine of the past 17.
Now you can add four more names to that list, as a quartet of former West Virginia players will be in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII this coming Sunday, Feb. 4.
All four are members of the Philadelphia Eagles, as linebacker Najee Goode, running back Wendell Smallwood, receiver Shelton Gibson and cornerback Rasul Douglas each spent the season in Philly. Smallwood was not active for this past Sunday’s NFC championship game, but the other three participated in that victory over the Vikings.
This will be the most former Mountaineers to ever participate in any one Super Bowl. Only twice (1991 when Mike Fox’s and Jeff Hostetler’s New York Giants beat Daryl Talley’s Buffalo Bill and in 1992 when Talley’s Bills lost to Alvoid Mays’ Washington Redskins) have multiple ex-WVU players played in the same Super Bowl. Obviously four in the same game and on the same Super Bowl team are all-time highs for West Virginia.
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Heading out – In terms of current players, the Mountaineers have had another departure. Redshirt freshman punter Jonn Young announced on Twitter last week that was leaving West Virginia and would transfer to another school.
Though heavily hyped when he signed with WVU coming out of Davie (N.C.) High School, Young was never able to beat out walk-on punter Billy Kinney or walk-on placekickers Mike Molina or Evan Staley for either of those jobs in his two seasons at West Virginia.
With Kinney returning for his senior season in 2018 and Australian punter Angus Davies also coming in to compete for the punting job, Young’s opportunity to win that starting role at any time in the future appears unlikely. He leaves WVU having punted twice in his career.
Young is the fifth Mountaineer scholarship player with eligibility remaining who will not return next season, joining wide receiver Ricky Rogers, offensive lineman Ray Raulerson, defensive lineman Jalen Harvey and offensive lineman Alec Shriner. Like Young, none of the others had seen much playing time for WVU to this point in their careers, and all will now look for opportunities at other schools.
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Another move – Speaking of transfers, there is one affecting the Holgorsen family, but not the Mountaineers.
Dana Holgorsen’s son Logan has changed schools and is now attending University High in Morgantown. Logan, who is currently a junior, actually resides in the University High district, since his father lives in the Cheat Lake area, but Dana’s son had attended Morgantown High since he began high school in 2015.
A quarterback who verbally committed to North Texas a few months ago, Logan actually transferred once before, moving to Baltimore to attend St. Frances Academy last summer. A few weeks into football season, though, the younger Holgorsen returned to Morgantown, re-enrolled at MHS and eventually regained his starting quarterback position. He helped the Mohigans earn a spot in the class AAA playoffs, though a first round trouncing at the hands of eventually state champ Martinsburg ended Morgantown’s season with a 4-7 record.
Logan began taking classes at University High at the start of the new semester earlier this month. He’ll be eligible to participate in football next fall, and he’ll be joining a Hawk program that was 11-1 last season, advanced to the second round of the Class AAA playoffs and returns a number of key components for 2018. The biggest hole for UHS, though, was going to be at quarterback, where its starter this past season, Clay Bailey, was a senior. Logan Hologorsen will now attempt to fill that spot.
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Sad news – And finally, sad news and some tragic news.
Former Martinsburg High standout Donte Grantham, who was having a fine senior season as a forward at Clemson (14.2 points and 6.9 rebounds a game) tore his ACL this past Saturday and will miss the rest of his final collegiate campaign.
And the most heartbreaking news of all came out of Kansas State last Thursday when police revealed that 22-year-old Matthew Snyder, who is the grandson of Wildcat head coach Bill Snyder and the son of special teams coordinator Sean Snyder, was found dead at his home. According to the Wichita Eagle, police are treating the death like a suicide.