The Times West Virginian

Mickey Furfari

September 24, 2013

FURFARI COLUMN- Is WVU football in poorest shape since 1960?

MORGANTOWN — Could this 2013 West Virginia University football team be the worst in 53 years?

After just four games, the Mountaineers (2-2) have shown strong signs that the football program here might well be in the poorest shape since 1960. That year’s team remains the only one of modern times to fail to win a game and finished that season with an 0-8-2 record.

That was coming off the university’s first Golden Era of WVU football under the guidance of Art “Pappy” Lewis. But his recruiting obviously had declined significantly in his program’s closing stages of a 10-year tenure.

It did not take Gentleman Gene Corum long to rebuild the program, though.

Since Dana Holgorsen guided WVU to a 10-3 record with the late coach Bill Stewart’s recruits in 2011, the third-year Mountaineer mentor’s success seemingly has diminished steadily.

Even with three of the greatest players in WVU’s 122-year football history, Holgorsen’s 2012 team finished at a sad 7-6 record — and most of the veteran players were recruited by Stewart and his assistant coaches.

Last Saturday, that most shameful and embarrassing 37-0 shutout by Maryland, in Baltimore, was the first shutout against WVU since a 35-0 loss to Virginia Tech in 2001.

It also was the worst since a 39-0 blanking by Penn State in 1975.

Coach Holgorsen told reporters he accepted “100 percent” of the blame for by far the most inept offensive performance since athletic director Oliver Luck hired him, initially as a noted offensive coordinator.

He had no previous experience as a head football coach — not even at the high school level!

In that connection, Holgorsen not only has a base salary of $2.2 million for 2013 but step-ups annually in a contract through 2017.

What’s more, the school’s current football coaching staff is clearly the highest paid ever. What’s troubling is can this program get any better — and soon?

West Virginia managed just six first downs and a mere 175 yards in total offense to 17 first downs and 330 yards in total offense by Maryland (4-0), which snapped a seven-game losing streak in that rivalry.

Can anyone recall exactly the last time a WVU offense was so inept?

I can’t.

Holgorsen’s young squad, which now has nine junior college recruits, is 4-8 for its last 12 games, dating back to the wonderful 5-0 season’s start and No. 5 national ranking in 2012.

What followed was the worst collapse a Mountaineer team ever suffered (for a 2-6 finish).

Obviously, West Virginia University alumni, supporters and even students must be gravely concerned about the football program’s sad state of affairs at this point in the season.

It ought to be even more troubling to the highly paid powers-that-be.

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Mickey Furfari
  • FURFARI COLUMN: Wyant talks about ‘Pappy’ Lewis and other items of interest

    I saved some other interesting observations from the recent interview with Fred Wyant which you may find worth reading.
    He believes a college football coach ought to recruit a quarterback he wants, give him some help, then turn virtually everything over to him and let him go.

    July 26, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Five major sports topics of interest to area fans

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    However, he told me he faces knee-replacement surgery. So he’s going to find it necessary to give up bowling during a period of rehab. Hart has competed in an amazing total of 45 U.S. Bowling Congress tournaments during his outstanding career.

    July 25, 2014

  • 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

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