The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

January 11, 2008

COLUMN: Undermining WVU athletics

MORGANTOWN — While the pot has boiled over in speculation about Bill Stewart’s assistant football coaching hires and about Darius Reynaud’s decision to take his degree and run to the NFL, there is a story of far more importance that has passed under the radar.

This is a story that has eaten into the very fiber of the program, one that threatens not just the football situation but the entire athletic department itself.

If it were to be made into a movie, it would be title: “Mutiny of the Boosters” or “How to Undermine an Athletic Program When It Has A Nationally Ranked Football, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Gymnastic, Wrestling, Women’s Soccer and Men’s Soccer Program.”

Yet that is just what Ken Kendrick Jr. and whatever other backers he has in his bid to run off the current administration is doing as they act like spoiled children who didn’t get their way.

That this story should be stirred up again comes about from an item on page 11-C of Friday’s USA Today, an item that seemingly has no ties to the situation at West Virginia.

The headline: Wash. Booster offered $100,000 for coach’s firing.

To further capsulize what already was a capsulized version of the story, it read that The Seattle Times had reported wealthy booster Ed Hansen had offered the University of Washington, via e-mails to President Mark Emmert, $100,000 to fire football coach Tyrone Willingham and promised another $100,000 if it fired athletic director Todd Turner, as well.

These revelations came out after Emmert retained — not fired Willingham despite a three-year record of 1-25 — and after Turner resigned his job 11 days after Willingham was retained by Emmert.

When asked by the newspaper if he would make good on his promise of $100,000 for Turner’s dismissal, Turner replied, “Your call is making me evaluate that. I think, as you and I are talking, I will go ahead with the $100,000 mentioned.”

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Bob Herzel
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