The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 28, 2007

COLUMN: WVU has lost more than Rod

MORGANTOWN — The Golden Age of West Virginia University athletics has been tarnished.

See, the worst thing that happens when there’s no games to watch is you have time to sit back and think, and as you do a number of things begin to come together.

A column, authored some long time ago in another life that ended recently with an escape from what has become the Folsom County Penitentiary, Morgantown style, came back to me.

It was noted then that coaches at WVU had more job security than a tenured professor. At that time the Mountaineers had Don Nehlen coaching football, Gale Catlett basketball, Craig Turnbull wrestling, Linda Burdette gymnastics, Veronica Hammersmith volleyball, Martin Pushkin track and field and Martha Thorn women’s tennis, all of whom had been in their jobs for 20 or more years.

The only turnover you could find at the school was in the bakery or on the basketball court.

And it was little different in the athletic administration, where everyone was comfortable and went about his or her job just as they had for the past 15 or 20 or 30 years.

Oddly, it wasn’t the money that kept the group intact, as hard as that may be to explain to anyone just a short decade later. There were enough wins to keep the alumni and the fans happy, a few great moments dotted with national champions, if not national championships, and everyone went merrily on his own way.

Was this the right way to approach things? Probably not, if you wanted to play with the big boys, but there is something about being content in an atmosphere that by definition probably should lean more to the academic and less to the athletic anyway.

It all started to change when the athletic department decided to downsize, slashing five varsity sports to streamline expenses and bring the department more in line with Title IX requirements that dictate gender equality in the most unequal of situations, where the masculine sport of football is king in interest, participation and revenue.

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • WVU #6 SHORTS -TS.jpg WVU opens practice with different feel: VIDEOS AND PHOTOS

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen was happy with his team’s first practice of the 2014 season.
    Of course, he would note, “Everybody in the country has a good first day.”
    But somehow, this was different.
    Very different.

    August 1, 2014 9 Photos

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Social media adds another thing to watch for coaches

    As someone who has gotten himself in enough hot water with a misplaced Tweet, when West Virginia University quarterback Clint Trickett hit the send button on July 17 sending out to the cyberworld what should have remained there with him on the couch on which he was sitting, I could feel his pain.

    August 1, 2014

  • WVU basketball non-conference schedule released

    After playing challenging schedules along with the tough Big 12 road, West Virginia University has backed off some this season on its non-conference schedule that was released Thursday.
    West Virginia is coming off a 17-16 season in which it failed to reach the NCAA Tournament and lost to Georgetown in the first round of the NIT.

    August 1, 2014

  • 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.

    July 31, 2014

  • 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.”

    July 31, 2014

  • 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.

    July 27, 2014

  • 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.

    July 26, 2014

  • 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.

    July 25, 2014

  • 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.

    July 24, 2014

  • 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.

    July 24, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads