The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 21, 2009

HERTZEL COLUMN - WVU will survive loss of Holliday

MORGANTOWN — A few days now have passed and we can all step back and take a reasoned look at the West Virginia football program.

Too often, in the wake of the departure of West Virginia assistant coach Doc Holliday to Marshall as head football coach, the knee-jerk reaction called it a kick in the head for the Mountaineers, which might be more a hysterical reaction than a rational one.

Now don’t get this wrong, losing Doc Holliday was hardly anything found on head coach Bill Stewart’s wish list, but also do not misunderstand, it is not an indication that the West Virginia football program is crumbling from within.

Holliday was an outstanding assistant coach, to be sure, but to make it appear the entire future of the WVU program rested on his shoulders, or to surmise he was the head coach in waiting is just complete nonsense.

Let us begin with a few facts.

Holliday is 52 years old and has never been a head football coach.

There must be a reason.

Even here at WVU, he was in contention for the head coaching job at his alma mater and turned down in favor of Stewart.

To think they took Stewart over him and held onto him as “coach in waiting” is patently absurd, for they didn’t have to wait. They could have hired him immediately.

Add to that the fact Holliday exited West Virginia for the first time a year before Don Nehlen retired, obviously fully aware he would not be Nehlen’s replacement, having been outmaneuvered for the job by a younger, hotter assistant coach by the name of Rich Rodriguez.

So, it is safe to assume WVU, the school that knew him best, never saw him as a potential top-of-the-heap head football coach.

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Bob Herzel
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