MORGANTOWN — In the beginning, it was fine.
The students were on edge, gathered outside the Coliseum, huddling for warmth, laughing and having the kind of time you are supposed to have as you wait for the gates to open before a game against their Backyard Brawl rival, Pitt.
The chanting then was acceptable, echoing off into the Morgantown evening.
“Eat pooh-pooh, Pitt!” they chanted, although it was somewhat more poetic in real life.
No one could complain. They were among themselves, these students, gearing up for the evening.
When the gates opened they descended upon the Coliseum student section like a band of fire ants, scurrying for position, wanting to be where the unblinking eye of the television cameras could show them in all their zaniness.
As students, they have that right, as long as they keep some semblance of sanity in their actions.
But it became obvious this was a group looking for trouble even before the first tip-off, a group of pathetic losers disguising their ill manners as backing the home team.
As Lisa DeMasi sang the national anthem, those same chants of “Eat pooh-pooh, Pitt!” rang out in the arena. Let us repeat when this was taking place, during the singing of the national anthem.
Sitting directly across from the student section, front row at midcourt, was James Clements, the man who serves as president of the school. When approached about the matter of student behavior on Thursday morning after presiding at the groundbreaking for the new basketball practice facility and the rehabilitation of the physics building called White Hall, he displayed genuine disgust for what he had witnessed the night before.
“C’mon,” Clements said, “during the national anthem. It’s not acceptable. I was appalled.”
It was the start of a disgraceful performance from a group of students who have proven in the past that they can do better, who brought pride upon themselves and the school when a grieving Connecticut team came into Morgantown.
MORGANTOWN — In the beginning, it was fine.
- Bob Herzel
HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?
The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
“In a year of change, must the Steelers’ offense carry the defense this year?”
Reading that turned on a light.
WVU takes first step today
Perhaps the most used — and least factual — cliché in sports is as follows:
“There’s no tomorrow.”
Around these parts, however, tomorrow is what they are clinging to, while putting a new twist on the cliché, turning it to, “There’s no yesterday.”
HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism
This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.
HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps
A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.
HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters
The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.
WVU, N.C. State to meet in football
Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.
HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention
When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.
Holgorsen’s program hits turning point
You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.
Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success
In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.
Saban, family happy at Alabama
Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.
- More Bob Herzel Headlines
- HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?