The hiring of Clements and Luck
The candidates for president all understood the role athletics play at WVU and how important a decision was approaching, but Clements had something extra that sold Luck.
“What Jim said, he’s pretty bold, he’s a doer, he wants things to happen. That came through in his interview. Obviously, over the last 20 months he’s encouraged me to get things done,” Luck said.
The tables were turned not long after that when Clements had been president for a while and Luck was a candidate for the athletic director’s job.
“I remember Jim and I had breakfast at Blaney House and him telling me, ‘I really want you to take this job’ and ‘I know it will be hard to move from Houston’ and blah, blah, blah. That stuff,” Luck said.
“We talked then about conference realignment. My sense was something big was going to happen — and that could be positive or negative. It was my sense in the first three or four years here that something would happen because of all the stuff that was going on,” Luck continued.
“I knew it was something the university and this department would have to tackle. I didn’t think it would be that quickly, to be honest.”
Making a move from the Big East to the Big 12 was thrust upon Luck. While he felt that the old Big East was a good fit, it was crumbling from within and the opportunity he spoke of beckoned. He was ready to move.
What drove all of this, in my first 21 months, was this looming specter of conference realignment, this constant concern of where WVU fit in because, let’s face it, we’re not Ohio State. We’re kind of a tweener. We’re good, we’re big, we’re a flagship, but we’re not Texas.”
That is an honest assessment, which was necessary at the time. Too often, at West Virginia, it believes it is something it is not, and that can hurt when you are looking at yourself on the national stage.
“My sense was something big was going to happen in the first three, four, five or six years when I took over,” he said. “We needed to be as shipshape as we could as a department.”