The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

January 3, 2011

FURFARI COLUMN - Luck’s firing of McMichael surprising

MORGANTOWN — I was surprised to learn last week that Oliver Luck fired Dave McMichael as West Virginia University’s tight ends/offensive special teams coach.

With 34 years of collegiate coaching, he had more experience — and successes — on the Mountaineers’ 2010 team that posted a third consecutive nine-victory season and earned a share of the Big East Championship.

One would think that not only Luck, WVU’s new athletic director, but 39-year-old Dana Holgorsen, newly named offensive coordinator and “head coach in waiting (2012),” would have at least evaluated McMichael closely.

He not only played three years of football for then-coach Don Nehlen at Bowling Green University but also served as an assistant under Nehlen at WVU from 1983-2000. Nehlen is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and has been retired for ten years.

Both of those gentlemen not only have been fine coaches but also possess considerable class. Even Luck should know that about Nehlen, having played two years at quarterback for Nehlen in 1980-81. A 9-3 record was really Luck’s only winning season.

Like Nehlen, McMichael is an Ohio native. And after spending 18 years with Nehlen at WVU, he returned last January after a lengthy stay at Connecticut.

There are those who suspect that Luck’s announced desire to win a football national title is mostly wishful thinking. But both Nehlen and McMichael were at least on the doorstep of such a lofty achievement. They, along with other classy coaches, had a hand in the school’s only undefeated 11-0 regular season.

One was in 1988 and the other in 1993.

West Virginia bowed to Notre Dame, 34-21, in the showdown for the national crown in ’88 at the Fiesta Bowl. The ’93 team lost to Florida, 41-7, in the Sugar Bowl.

As a three-year offensive lineman at Bowling Green, McMichael helped his team to a 19-10-1 record and the school’s biggest wins against Purdue and Syracuse. Then he was a graduate assistant for Nehlen for one year.

As a full-time college coach, McMichael appeared in 16 bowl games, and worked with five All-America players, including consensus selection Brian Jozwiak in the early 1980s. In addition to Jozwiak, he also coached All-America tackles Rick Phillips, Brian Smider, walk-on Rich Braham, and tight end Rob Bennett during his pervious hitch at WVU. Eleven of his pupils performed in the National Football League.

Twenty-one protégées made All-Conference teams.

Besides West Virginia and UConn (2001-09), McMichael served assistant coaching stints at Southern Illinois (1980-82) and Muskingum (1977-79).

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • 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

  • Were Bowlsby’s fears about college athletics’ future justified?

    I have never met or even talked to Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.
    But I did read a lengthy story on his 45-minute address to reporters last week on Media Day in Dallas, Texas. Among other things, Bowlsby forecast a startling change threatening the existence of intercollegiate athletics as we have known for these many, many years.

    July 28, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • Seider's brother commits to WVU

    West Virginia University’s football team has received a commitment from one of its own.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides much optimism heading into 2014 season

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.

    July 26, 2014

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