The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

June 15, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN - Luck has a lot on his plate as new AD

MORGANTOWN — Having been selected as a Rhodes Scholar finalist while an undergraduate quarterback at West Virginia University, it was not at all surprising that Oliver Luck would make a literary reference on the day he was ceremonially introduced as the Mountaineers new athletic director.

“The author Tom Wolfe is wrong,” Luck said to a packed house that included many Morgantown and WVU luminaries from real estate mogul Perry Petropolis to Final Four basketball coach Bob Huggins. “You can go home again.”

In many ways, if home is where you hang your hat, helmet or “loden hut”, as they say in Germany, then this is home to Luck, who grew up in Cleveland, played college ball in Morgantown, played professionally in Texas, lived in Germany, where his two daughters were born, and England, where his youngest son was born. He then settled in Houston before being named to replace Ed Pastilong after his 20-year career as athletic director had ended.

His return was nostalgic in some respects, for even though he has served for the past year as a member of the Board of Governors at the university, it has been while located in Texas. Now, quite suddenly, having interviewed only last Wednesday, he will be calling Morgantown his home again.

His once jet black hair is now flecked with gray, although at 50 he is in good enough shape that he still could wear the original No. 12 jersey that he wore in the Peach Bowl back in 1981 which was given him by WVU President Jim Clements.

He is going to need to be, because things are moving fast on the college athletic scene, with conference realignment having begun and with changes coming almost hourly.

That would be enough for any new athletic director to have on his plate before he takes office, that coming on July 1. Even then he is going at it part time as he has business to wrap up in Houston.

Now, another problem has become public.

While this in no way is as threatening as the potential for disaster from conference realignment, it seems that the chance of NCAA discipline of the WVU football program exists and, to make it even more intriguing, it is the first shot fired in what promises to be an instate war with Marshall.

A Huntington newspaper, identifying no source and without so much as courtesy phone call to the WVU administration or the football coach staff, ran a Sunday story claiming the Mountaineers have self-reported using two extra coaches on the field in violation of NCAA rules.

According to the story, this was a carryover from the Rich Rodriguez reign at WVU, something which he has been charged with doing at Michigan. According to the story, Pat Kirkland and Dale Wolfley, two men in administrative posts and not allowed to coach, were doing on-field coaching.

Here’s the kicker. No one at WVU would so much as deny the story, even anonymously or off the record. They claimed, from the school president to the adminstrators of the athletic department, that they were forbidden by NCAA rules from making comment, but somehow left no doubt they are livid about the story.

When one realized the head coach at Marshall is Doc Holliday, a long-time WVU assistant who left the program back when Don Nehlen was retiring and then was snubbed when Bill Stewart was named over him as Rodriguez's replacement after he had spent time at North Carolina State and Florida, there is much suspicion that he may have been behind the planting of the story.

Considering Holliday also has hired away some of WVU's graduate assistants to work in his program, one can assume that the first shot in what could be a hot rivalry has been fired.

Certainly, it would be to Holliday’s and Marshall’s benefit as a recruiter in the heart of recruiting period to have word circulated that WVU could be facing NCAA sanctions. Take that along with the suspicion that the Big East could be hurt worse than any other conference by realignment and you can see Marshall might feel it can benefit from any perceived weakness at WVU.

It would have been nice to have Stewart, President Clements, Luck or Pastilong say what they really were feeling about the entire situation, but they bit their tongues and said nothing. You can rest assured that any negotiations for an extension on the contract for games between the two teams in the future will be contentious at best.

It could have been worse, of course, for Luck could have been blindsided by the story, as it doesn’t seem that it was brought up during negotiations for his A.D. job, but he did say he was aware of the situation through his role as a member of the Board of Governors.

Whether there really is any evidence that WVU under Rodriguez or whether Stewart continued to break the rules will not be known until the NCAA acts. One suspects that WVU, which does seem to genuinely seem to care about compliance, did nothing that it considered to be illegal.

Asked if he was concerned about the situation, President Clements replied:

“There are a lot of things I spend a lot of time thinking about from the success of our student-athletes in the classroom to the health of them on the field to conference realignment. There are a lot of things run through my head during the day.

“When I arrived here a year ago I had the view this was a great institution with well run programs and I’m convinced we do things the right way.”

A nice statement, but not an answer to whether he is concerned or not.

E-mail Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

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