The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

March 18, 2012

Luck leading WVU through transition

(Continued)

MORGANTOWN — ‘Football is king’

That began with football.

“Football is king. No question about that, but the Olympic sports do matter. Volleyball matters, men’s and women’s soccer matter, swimming matters,” he said, adding, “I thought we really had to make sure we had the best coaches we could, that we were focused on those sports. I felt improving in all those sports would help us navigate in all this conference confusion. I didn’t know where we were going to end up. It’s like making sure the company you want to sell in three years from now is tip-top, you’ve gotten rid of all the problems.”

And so it was a number of coaching changes were made, including the biggest one, firing Bill Stewart and bringing in Dana Holgorsen.

“Football drives everything and football is big in Texas,” Luck said. “It just dawned on me (how big). Sports Illustrated had a picture of the top four quarterbacks in the draft ... Andrew (his son, of Stanford, who will be the first pick in the NFL draft), Robert Griffin III (the Heisman winner from Baylor), Ryan Tannehill from A&M and Brandon Weeden, the Oklahoma State kid. Tannehill is from Abilene, Griffin is from a little place near Colleen, Andrew cut his teeth in Houston and Weeden is from Oklahoma,” Luck said.

“It’s not just a coincidence that three of the top four quarterbacks are from Texas. It’s serious football. High school, college ... they take it seriously. It’s Friday Night Lights; it’s a religion.”

And that will give a higher profile to WVU’s football program and help players like Geno Smith and Tavon Austin in bids for top national awards, WVU never having produced a Heisman Trophy winner.

Things will change

The entire athletic department at WVU is facing a change. Rifle and men’s soccer will not take part in the Big 12 as it does not offer those sports, and WVU will add another sport, either men’s golf, men’s track and field, or men’s tennis, but the biggest change will be in baseball.

“Baseball is a project,” Luck said. “Big 12 baseball is clearly good.”

It is a major sport in many ways.

“I went to law school in Texas, and the baseball field is 400 or 500 yards from the law school and I used to go over and watch a game or two. There were 6,000 people there. It’s gotten even bigger since I was there,” Luck noted.

At WVU baseball has been an afterthought. Poorly attended and with an inferior facility, Hawley Field.

“We need to upgrade the infrastructure. Hawley Field is not adequate for that,” Luck said. “If Texas or Oklahoma kids came to Hawley Field they would roll their eyes and say, ‘Coach, really.’

He is planning to play conference games at first in cities in the state that have a decent facility like Charleston, Beckley and Princeton, while at the same time he is pushing to get a TIF (tax increment financing) through that would build a stadium at the University Town Center that would also be used by a minor league baseball team.

“The TIF makes sense,” he said. “It’s also a great move for this community ... and I would include Fairmont and Clarksburg in that. Already there are minor league teams knocking on the door.”

Text Only
WVU Sports
  • Mountaineers open practice with different feel

    West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen was happy with his team’s first practice of the 2014 season.

    July 31, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Social media adds another thing to watch for coaches

    As someone who has gotten himself in enough hot water with a misplaced Tweet, when West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett hit the send button on July 17 sending out to the cyberworld that should have remained there with him on the couch on which he was sitting, I could feel his pain.

    July 31, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Bobby Bowden won the bad-and-good battle with rival Lou Holtz

    The recent announcement that West Virginia University is resuming a football relationship with North Carolina State triggered a most memorable bad-news, good-news battle.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU men’s basketball non-conference schedule announced

    West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck has announced the 2014-15 men’s basketball non-conference schedule.

    July 31, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
    “In a year of change, must the Steelers’ offense carry the defense this year?”
    Reading that turned on a light.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step today

    Perhaps the most used — and least factual — cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
    Around these parts, however, tomorrow is what they are clinging to, while putting a new twist on the cliché, turning it to, “There’s no yesterday.”

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step Thursday

    Perhaps the most used – and least factual – cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
     

    July 30, 2014

  • Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
     

    July 30, 2014

  • smallwood-wendell(1)-2.jpg Charges against Smallwood dropped

     West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.
    It took him only three words to say what was on his mind: “God is Good.” Smallwood is now free to return to West Virginia and rejoin his Mountaineer teammates when they open camp for the 2014 season Thursday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charges against Smallwood dropped

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos