So now that Rich has departed for Ann Arbor – why did he leave? Is it the same reasons he flirted with Alabama last year?
Options for his departure
- It’s about the money – all $500,000 more a year; while always good this seems somewhat improbable as a main motivator
- It’s about the brand – Michigan post Happy Appy Loss > WVU near the top; loyalty aside to WVU this one has to play into the final decision because Michigan is one of the premier programs – but was it the only catalyst? In the final decision process I think this one gets around 20%
- Things are bad in Morgantown, aka administration and Rich wanted out – Lots of public information suggesting this was the other 80%. Last year, the public reasons for his near departure included wanting extra money for assistant coaches, a few more graduate assistants, a recruiting coordinator, allowing players to keep their books, and waving ticket fees for high school coaches. And yes, there were probably in order of important for the program. I also remember he just wanted the U to follow through on other promises like promised capital improvements to WVU stadium.
Are there any other examples of coaches fleeing WVU because of the administration? Two words – John Belien. Oddly, also now a Michigan coach. He didn’t like living in football’s shadow (and goes to Michigan?) with also reports that he had issues with admin.
- Program about to fall apart, found first life boat with women and children – We’ve seen that play before aka Gale Catlett. The worst loss in WVU football history (pit) can rattle the foundation, but collapse with a few blue chippers in the pipeline (statistically high probability awesome always trumps statistically mediocre with a small chance of awesome sorry, MM) is highly unlikely.
Reviewing over the list I made to make my point, numbers 3 and 2 are looking like a full picture as of today. Using these WAGs to then presume the environment has filtered over into the players locker room could help explain the up and down play of the team and even the head in the clouds loss to Pitt. Of course, Pitt helped by playing pretty well.
Rich may have just wanted out. He may have just wanted to wear the big M on his hat instead of WV and that’s the simplest answer. If, however, we find out the athletic department helped open that door by playing silly politics with this guy (even writing it, this feels too romantic for Rich’s public relations) then the entire group needs to be fired or the program shut down. Mediocre sucks, especially when excellence is achievable.
Mountaineer Nation will know soon enough. If Huggins (basketball) and Football Coach X continue building the programs and finally reach the next level the answer will be clear. Egos on both sides of the ball were too big. Time will tell on the final answer.