The Times West Virginian

Mickey Furfari

January 31, 2014

FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Gee talks about his philosophy on college athletics

MORGANTOWN — Dr. Gordon Gee, West Virginia University’s interim president, had some interesting observations about intercollegiate athletics on Tuesday in his office.

First of all, he confirmed that when he was at Ohio State as president, he was asked if he was going to fire the school’s head football coach.

“No,” Gee said in response. “I just hope he doesn’t fire me.”

He readily admitted on Tuesday that “sometimes my sense of humor isn’t taken very well.”

Dr. Gee disbanded the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics while president at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. He admittedly has no regrets.

“I think that was the right thing to do,” he told me. “Not the sports program itself should be …

“The athletic department should be embedded in the totality of the university. Athletics should not be separated from the rest of the university.

“They should be very much a part of the university, so it represents the best of what the university is about.”

Gee sounded pleased that Vanderbilt has fared very well in major football and basketball since then.

Obviously, they’re the chief revenue-producing sports at most institutions.

“What I believe it’s not so much the organizational structure (in college sports) but in the philosophy that athletics is part of the academic community, said Gee, who also was WVU president in the early 1980s.

“Not separated and not isolated from the academic community. So it’s not so much about whether the structure is embedded; it is about whether the philosophy is greater.”

Dr. Gee said he’s delighted to be back working in Morgantown. He has been taking time to attend some WVU athletic events at the Coliseum.

In an email message from spokeswoman Becky Lofstead on Wednesday evening, President Gee commented on the dismissal of Mike Parsons as deputy athletic director:

“Mike Parsons was of great service to me during my first tenure at West Virginia University, and has given many years of dedicated service to this institution. I sincerely appreciate his commitment to our university. I wish nothing but the best for Mike and his family.”

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Mickey Furfari
  • FURFARI COLUMN: Ex-Mountaineer track star dies; WVU athlete arrests may be concern

    I’ve learned belatedly that James Gordon “Jim” Dial, an outstanding men’s track and field sprinter at West Virginia University during the late 1940s, has died.
    He was a native of Huntington who earned All-State first team status. The Huntington High star led all scorers in the state Track Championship meets in both 1946 and ’47.

    July 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Jedd Gyorko running and taking batting practice now

    A report on the internet at this week’s start indicated that Morgantown’s Jedd Gyorko might be ready finally to rejoin the San Diego Padre’s starting lineup.
    He has been on the Major League’s disabled list since June 3. Problems with his feet was given as the reason Gyorko was unable to keep playing.

    July 16, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: WVU hopes to boost season-ticket sales

    West Virginia University’s season-ticket sales for football are the lowest in nine years just two months before this season’s first home game.
    That will be on Saturday, Sept. 6, against Towson State. The Big 12 portion of the schedule follows.

    July 10, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: San Diego Padres’ Gyorko remains on disabled list

    Stringing together some odds and ends that may interest you:
    • Jedd Gyorko still is not active with the San Diego Padres. The former West Virginia University standout has been on the baseball’s disabled list for just over a month and hopes to return soon.

    July 9, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: It had to feel like ‘Ol’ Home Week’ for the Tricketts

    It might have felt like a bit of “Ol’ Home Week’ to West Virginia University starting quarterback Clint Trickett.
    His parents, Rick and Tara Trickett, were in the Morgantown area and stopped by to spend some time with Clint. They still live in Tallahassee, Florida.

    July 3, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: WVU football season-ticket sales approximately 26,000

    Stringing together some odds and ends about sports that may be of interest to you:
    • West Virginia University season-ticket sales for the 2014 football campaign have reached approximately 26,000. That’s some 2,000 since the count of 24,000 when the renewal deadline was reached.

    June 27, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: USA Today has WVU 78th in football countdown from No. 128 to No. 1

    Like Las Vegas oddsmakers, USA Today’s sports writer Paul Myerberg doesn’t rank West Virginia highly in that newspaper’s early college football predictions in a copyrighted piece.
    In one of its thorough pieces, USA Today analyzed West Virginia in its No. 78 ranking among 128 college teams. That’s what is called a countdown from No. 128 to No. 1.

    June 24, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Las Vegas oddsmakers not kind to WVU in early listings

    Not long ago, I guessed that the West Virginia University football team will go 6-6 during the 2014 football season.
    That was based strictly on a hunch. It would show at least some improvement over last year’s pitiful 4-8 finish.

    June 22, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Five different items about a variety of sports

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • In a continuing federal court case out West, an economist recently testified that student athletes could receive as much as $1 million were he or she given a half share of a major college’s revenue from network game broadcasts over a four year period.

    June 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Noll was the most successful football coach I ever knew

    Charles Henry “Chuck” Noll was without question the most successful football coach at any level that I’ve ever known in my writing career.
    Noll, who died in his sleep at 82 last Friday night, served 23 enjoyable – and most memorable – years as mentor of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    June 17, 2014

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