The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

November 18, 2009

HERTZEL COLUMN: Pitt’s faith in head coach paying off

MORGANTOWN — Let us, for a moment, take a step back away from the West Virginia University football program, give the latest loss a chance to seep in. Let us take a few deep breaths, maybe even count slowly to 10.

We understand the dissatisfaction, for we were spoiled by the success, no matter how it was achieved, from the Rich Rodriguez era and, to be honest, with the inevitable departure of the talent he brought in, talent we now are watching play on Sundays, a decline in performance was inevitable, no matter who was hired.

Bill Stewart was the man, and at this moment, despite a 7-3 record, there are rumblings across the state of West Virginia that his hiring was a mistake, that it should be corrected at the conclusion of the current season.

Without taking sides in that discussion, we would instead like to simply offer an example where, in a similar situation, a school opted to stand behind its coach and things worked out grandly. We don’t have to take you far to see the outcome of that school’s patience with and faith in its coach.

It’s just 80 miles up I-79 North, where the University of Pittsburgh’s alumni and fans had a one-way ticket out of town for Dave Wannstedt, right up until he came to Morgantown and beat Rodriguez’s Mountaineers to ruin the dream of a national championship game in 2007.

Wannstedt, it will be recalled, took over a team that had gone 8-4 and played Utah in the Fiesta Bowl, an alumnus returning home to replace the unpopular Walt Harris. He came in with his own ideas, built out of years of coaching in the shadow of greatness, an assistant with Jimmy Johnson at the University of Miami and in Dallas with the Cowboys, an NFL coach with the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins.

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Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: NCAA football is thriving in the digital age

    The other day Baylor football coach Art Briles walked into his graduate assistants’ office and had to laugh at what he saw.
    “There’s five guys sitting in there — a couple of GA’s and some office personnel — and they all are within a foot and a half of each other and not a one of them is talking to each other,” Briles said, describing the scene “Every one of them is on the phone.”

    April 24, 2014

  • O’Brien leads WVU baseball past Marshall

    Catcher Cam O’Brien made a bid at becoming only the second West Virginia University player to hit for the cycle as the Mountaineers jumped on Marshall early and routed their in-state rival, 10-3, behind strong pitching from Corey Walter and a pair of relievers.

    April 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- WVU faithful again have a reason to root against Vick

    It would be one final indignation, that’s what it would be if Michael Vick were to beat out Geno Smith and win the starting quarterback job with the New York Jets.

    April 23, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Luck open to WVU fans’ suggestions

    West Virginia’s fans have spoken, perhaps not verbally but nonetheless have had their voices heard, over the past few years as attendance has fallen at the Mountaineers’ football and basketball games.

    April 22, 2014

  • Mountaineers ready for slate of rivalry games

    Looking to put together a late-season run to get into the NCAA championships, West Virginia faces a pair of midweek rivalry games in a crucial five-game week coming off winning two of three games at Oklahoma.

    April 22, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Summer, Alabama will be used to get WVU’s mind right

    The ink had barely dried on the final reports out of West Virginia’s spring practice when thoughts turned forward toward the lazy, hazy days of late summer, days that will bring us into football season with a game that can either change the entire image of WVU football or sour it even further.

    April 21, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier

    You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
    As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

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