[this was originally a Facebook status in response to those folks who seem to believe that WVU AD, Oliver Luck, somehow caused the train wreck that was the Chumps Champs Bowl.]
Dear WVU MAC and those not really paying attention to the state of WVU football:
I’m pleased WVU has hired a professional for AD and is in the process of hiring a professional as head coach of our football team. Luck didn’t keep the team from practicing more than 7 times leading up to the bowl game, mismanaged the time allotted to them for on-field bowl practices (NC State somehow figured it out), or developed an offensive game plan that neither ran nor threw the ball well. Oh, he didn’t create an atmosphere where we lost three? starters to grades or put us on (or darn near) probation.
The spirit is out of WVU football because most of WVU Nation thought we were going to get pasted in this bowl game. We hoped the outgoing regime would put up a fight to prove Luck wrong, but inevitably they proved him right. The spirit is gone because this current coach managed to take a team consistently ranked in the top 10 and take it no higher than 18th in the past three years.
Quick test – say WVU didn’t make these moves for the future, does anyone really believe that the score would have been 35/23 WVU? Other than the 5% of fans who would pick WVU to beat the New England Patriots, I have to believe that there are precious few people who would think we would have won the game. The sad facts are that Tuesday’s game combined all the problems of the past year (two years?) into four quarters of misery. We had poor time management, poor fundaments (yes the fumbles were bad but what about the O-line) and confused offense.
Yes, I wasn’t impressed that all of this became public before the end of the season. The pursuit of Holgorsen by other schools seems to have required WVU push the timeline. Stewart appears to be a decent enough person, but you know what bothered me more than the story getting away from Luck and WVU?
It was Ol’ Ste’s denial of knowing anything about Holgorsen before the new broke despite traveling to help recruit him. Why would he do this?
And I quote:
Stewart has known for more than a month that the process of replacing him was under way. Athletic director Oliver Luck met with Stewart on Nov. 14 and Stewart at that time agreed to give up at least the final two years of his contract. He was essentially forced to do so because of NCAA violations within the program that would have allowed the school to void his contract had he not agreed to the modification. (link to story)
Unlike our recent teams, I’ll pile it on:
The second question I have, though, can’t be answered so easily because Stewart himself won’t return calls. If he knew this was a done deal more than a month ago – save for the possible one-year grace period – why has he continued to state his case at almost every opportunity? As recently as last weekend, he stood at a press conference and reeled off his list of accomplishments, from wins and bowls to graduation rates. (Link to story)
Would this man of incredible integrity try to throw our AD in front of the bus? Give me another reason …
The end of the Stewart era is blessedly the end of many mediocre or just plain embarrassing WVU moments sans Bobby and the basketball team. The same folks who brought us MBA scandals, consistently underachieving academics and the start of the football rules violations also gave us Stewart. While Luck’s cleaning house and the sometimes painful revelations these things bring are unfortunate, the real folks who caused this issue are those who put an man with 8 wins (at VMI) at the helm of a top 10 football team three years ago. Painter … to finish … the architects ,.. job.
Thankfully WVU seems to be filling its leadership positions with qualified leaders. Clements, Luck, and soon Holgorsen will join Huggins, Carey, and the others. As a donor, and an alumnus – I’m relieved.