The Times West Virginian

April 7, 2013

FURFARI COLUMN: College coaches making the big bucks

By Mickey Furfari
Times West Virginian

MORGANTOWN — Stringing together some odds and ends that may be of interest:

• Did you know that the total annual pay of each of the coaches with teams in the NCAA Basketball Tournament averages $1.47 million? One wag suggested that perhaps we should start referring to a head football or basketball coach simply as “Mr. Millionaire.” He thought that would be appropriate — I didn’t.

• All four of the head coaches whose team made it to this weekend’s Final Four at Atlanta certainly are being paid well. Rick Pitino of Louisville is receiving $5 million, Jim Boeheim of Syracuse $1.9 million, John Beilein of Michigan $1.9 million and George Marshall of Wichita State $1.2 million.

• Like a lot of West Virginia basketball fans, if not all, I’ve been pulling for Coach Beilein and his Wolverines. He’s not only a great coach but a fine gentleman. He certainly did an excellent job as WVU’s head coach as Gale Catlett’s successor from 2002-03 through 2006-07. He was here five seasons and posted a record of 104-60.

Taking over the men’s program after an 8-20 season, Beilein performed absolute wonders. His teams enjoyed records of 14-15, 17-14, 24-11, 22-11 and 27-9. WVU won the National Invitation Tournament championship for only the second time since 1942, the school’s first-ever NIT title. It also reached the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and Elite Eight under Beilein’s guidance in two NCAA appearances.

• If you’re interested in purchasing a season ticket for WVU’s six home football games, the cost could be $365 — even without a donation to the Mountaineer Athletic Club. But the ticket probably would be in the end zone. If you wanted to buy only one ticket to the most popular home game — if available — I’m told it would cost you $80. Season ticket orders are now being accepted at WVU for the 2013 campaign.

• Some of the college/pro football “experts” continue to degrade West Virginia University’s great, graduating quarterback, Geno Smith, on radio and TV. I contend it’s a really sad, unfair attack on his ability and, most certainly, his character, But I did hear one analyst on ESPN say during a three-man discussion that he thinks Geno Smith would be the only QB picked in the first round of the upcoming NFL draft.

• I have resorted to a Freedom of Information Act request just once in my lengthy career as a sports writer and columnist. I was under the belief that the person or organization receiving such a legitimate request has only five days to respond.

 And if there’s no response in five days, a possible penalty could be imposed. But the last time I looked, WVU has yet to settle 33 FOIA requests from a local newspaper.

Why? I don’t know. I’m just asking.