The Times West Virginian

Sports

January 29, 2014

WVU deputy athletic director ousted

MORGANTOWN — Mike Parsons has been forced out as deputy athletic director at West Virginia University.

Parsons, 59, spent 35 years working for the school but it had been general knowledge that tensions had grown between him and athletic director Oliver Luck over the past couple of years.

Luck was not available for comment.

Parsons had been the driving force behind the Mountaineer Sports Network over the years and had not been in favor of selling off the rights as was done recently with IMG.

“My last day in the office was yesterday,” Parsons said Tuesday. “There’s not much I can tell you.”

Parsons would not comment on why he is leaving but obviously did not want to leave.

“I have to be evasive here,” he said. “But I am not taking early retirement. I got a kid in college. I want to work, I need to work and I will continue to work.”

Parsons plans on opening a job search immediately.

Parsons was deputy athletic director and ran a lot of things in addition to being the CEO of the Mountaineer Sports Network.

Luck eventually, after a messy process that actually had to be redone, outsourced the school’s third-tier media rights to IMG College against Parsons’ wishes.

“I’ve been blessed for nearly 35 years in having a front row seat for some of the greatest athletic events in West Virginia history,” said Parsons, who was Ed Pastilong’s right-hand man during his term as athletic director.

“I can look back at 24 bowl games and 15 NCAA Tournaments, and I see players like Mike Gansey and Frank Young and like Robert Alexander. I’ve been blessed to be a part of a lot of great things.”

Parsons wanted to pay tribute to the people he worked with over the years.

“One of the things that make a program successful is having a passion for it all and we’ve been fortunate to have a lot of great student-athletes and a lot of great coaches, but also a lot of great staff; people with a passion for what Mountaineer sports has been about,” Parsons said.

“If you want to be successful in athletics, it can’t be a job. It becomes a way of life and we’ve been fortunate to have a lot of people who accepted that challenge.”

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

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