The Times West Virginian

Mickey Furfari

January 16, 2014

FURFARI COLUMN: Some observations, facts and opinions

MORGANTOWN — Here are a few short items in which you may be interested:

• The West Virginia University men’s basketball team’s performance in Monday night’s 80-69 loss to Texas at home was its poorest in a long time.

The Mountaineers (10-7, 2-2 Big 12) disappointed the WVU Coliseum crowd of 8,706 in virtually every play phase, particularly shooting and rebounding.

In trailing the Longhorns by as many as 21 points, West Virginia shot only 37.7 percent (26-of-69). Even much worse, the team made just 4 of 25 shots from 3-point range.

The Mountaineers cashed 13 of 20 free throws (65 percent) against Texas (13-4, 2-2 Big 12).

WVU not only was outrebounded by 49-30, but allowed the visitors to shoot a sizzling 52.7 percent from the field (29-of-55).

Texas made 4 of 9 from 3-point range and 18 of 23 from the foul line (78.3 percent).

Give the Mountaineers some credit, though. They never quit in slicing 10 points off the largest deficit.

• The reported departure of Ford Childress from West Virginia’s sagging football program merely muddles the outlook further for the 2014 campaign.

The 6-foot-5, 224-pound redshirt freshman from Houston, Texas, would leave the Mountaineers with just two quarterbacks who have collegiate experience. He isn’t enrolled for this semester at WVU. He reportedly plans to transfer elsewhere.

Childress started just two games last season before being sidelined by a torn pectoral. As a result, he missed the final eight games of a 4-8 season.

This seemingly adds to the growing problems that Dana Holgorsen faces in preparing a football team in his fourth year as a head coach at any level of competition.

• I have received numerous emails in response to my column of last weekend. That was the one dealing with the question of whether WVU made a great mistake joining — hastily —t he Big 12 Conference two years ago.

I wrote that I firmly believe it was wrong, and it reportedly would cost the school $50 million for ever withdrawing from the conference.

Thinking and reasoning were presented for readers’ consideration. Happily, none of the emails received to date disagree totally with that column.

• On that subject, one of those emails in particular I found most interesting:

 Jim S. wrote, “There are college athletes with obligations other than sports (allegedly).

“With the Big 12 move, prices and restrictions on seating, etc, (Oliver) Luck (the athletic director) has rebuilt the WVU athletic program to match the structure of professional teams (travel, time away from home base, prices, et al).

“This is in pursuit of dollars at the cost of education. Looking at it deeply, if I owned a company of almost any size, I would be careful about hiring a WVU athlete on the basis of his/her degree, given these circumstances.

“So far as the fans are concerned … who among them can afford to travel to most away games? And fewer of them are ready to pony up the price of admission at home.

“All of this adds up to shooting yourself in the foot and pretending it feels good.

“Jim S.”

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Mickey Furfari
  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    April 15, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Blaney wins 100th Sprint Car race

    Stringing together some odds and ends that may be of interest to you:
    • Dale Blaney, the all-time great West Virginia University basketball star, has achieved another historic notch in his athletic career as a Sprint Car racer. He posted his 100th career riding in the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio last weekend.

    April 12, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- What a wonderful evening with Dr. Stanley ‘Coach’ Kandzari

    This column really is not about sports, per se. But, more importantly, it is about a widely known medical doctor whose nickname happens to be “Coach.”

    April 8, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Turnbull endured many tragedies growing up

    Coach Craig Turnbull, the latest head-coach victim of Oliver Luck’s shocking series of firings at West Virginia University, had generally enjoyed what many rate as an outstanding career not only in athletics but in life.
    Like the present, there also were some very difficult times for him as a youngster.

    April 6, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: All-time WVU great QB Bernie Galiffa dies at 63

    It was very sad to learn that Bernie Galiffa, one of the most outstanding quarterbacks in West Virginia University football history, had passed away.
    The three-year letterman for famed coach Bobby Bowden died last Thursday in Wilmington, N.C., at the age of 63.

    April 4, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Is $106 million in facilities updates really key to WVU sports success?

    You may have heard or read that West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is planning to spend $106 million for major projects.
    According to published reports, that is to improve athletic facilities, including Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium and the WVU Coliseum (yet to be named for a rich donor).

    April 2, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Who’s next on Oliver Luck’s hatchet list?

    Who’s going to be next on Oliver Luck’s sad house-cleaning list as West Virginia University’s athletic director?
    Craig Turnbull, the outstanding head coach and builder of the Mountaineers’ wrestling program for 36 years, was notified on Friday afternoon that Luck shockingly announced that his contract will not be renewed on June 30 for next year.

    March 30, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Herbie Brooks one of Catlett’s early standouts at WVU

    Herbie Brooks, a native of Beckley, was an All-Stater at Mullens High School and demonstrated his talents at West Virginia University from 1984-89 in men’s basketball.
    The 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard performed admirably under coach Gale Catlett’s direction.

    March 29, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: WVU women’s team certainly has been special

    There’s lingering heartbreak in the wake of last Tuesday night’s 76-67 loss to LSU that ended the West Virginia University’s women’s basketball hopes to keep alive in the NCAA Tournament.
    The Mountaineers, seeded No. 2 and ranked as high as No. 5 nationally earlier this season, battled the seventh-seeded, home-standing Tigers toe-to-toe on even terms for 35 minutes on LSU’s own Pete Maravich Assembly Center floor.

    March 28, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Sonny Moran recalls WVU basketball’s ‘greatest tragedy’

    Sonny Moran, undoubtedly the unluckiest head coach in West Virginia University men’s basketball history, resides at the age of 88 in Alabama.

    March 26, 2014

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