The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

January 17, 2008

COLUMN: Not a shred left behind

MORGANTOWN — Two year ago, after winning the Sugar Bowl, West Virginia University’s athletic department put out a highlight video on the season.

It’s title?

“Stay Humble, Stay Hungry”

Rich Rodriguez did neither.

While asking his players to “hold the rope,” another of a thousand corny inspirational messages from Rodriguez, he was making it into a noose and slipping it around their necks.

He left them blowing in the wind as he headed for Michigan, even before their appearance in the Fiesta Bowl.

At least he finally got his wish. He finished this season No. 1. That right, let’s all raise our arms to the sky and point toward the heaven with one of those foam “We’re No. 1” fingers.

Rich Rodriguez is public enemy No. 1 in West Virginia.

When he left, he apparently left nothing behind.

• He took his wife and two kids.

• He took most of his assistant coaches.

• He took his strength staff.

• He took whatever recruits he could get his hands on.

• His favorite book, “How To Talk Southern, Y’All.”

Apparently there was no room left in the white Bronco — OK, that’s stretching the truth, but it plays well for effect — for rather than take certain files from his office, he simply destroyed them.

You might say he didn’t leave a shred of evidence behind.

I always have been something of a conspiracy theorist. Yes, I know there was a gunman on the grassy knoll in Dallas, and I have no doubt John Wilkes Booth was part of a plot to kill Abraham Lincoln.

Everyone is assuming Rodriguez destroyed papers involving normal, everyday football stuff, whatever that may be.

If that was all it was, why did he do it?

As low as he has been in his dealings with the university, it is not unreasonable to assume he simply did it out of spite.

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Bob Herzel
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