Tag:Oliver Luck
Posted on: June 7, 2011 11:58 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 11:59 am
 

WVU AD has '100 percent confidence' in Holgorsen

Posted by Chip Patterson

The publicity mess at West Virginia accelerated this week when Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Collin Dunlap told 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh that head coach Bill Stewart asked local media to "dig up dirt" on coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen.

Athletic director Oliver Luck joined the morning show on that same station on Tuesday. Initially planning to discuss the recent approval of beer sales at athletic events, Luck ended up opening by offering a few comments on the Stewart/Holgorsen soap opera.

"It's difficult to know what's fact and what's not," Luck said in response to the various reports. "Before I make any comments I need to figure out what the facts are, it's as simple as that. I think that's the only fair way to go about this."

Much of this began with a string of reports on Holgorsen's off-field behavior. More than a handful of incidents regarding gambling and/or alcohol have been mentioned in recent weeks, causing the university to take action. After finding certain flaws in the reporting, the school has begun an investigation into possible leaks from the football program. Leaks which many believe will lead back to Stewart.

"The investigation that I undertook to look into a lot of these allegations left me with a high level of confidence that, as the university put it, there were a number of 'blatant inaccuracies' in these allegations and I did not find any substantiation."

"I've got a high level of confidence in Dana, and his persona and his discipline," Luck continued. "I, again, have 100 percent confidence that he'll do the right thing. But unfortunately, some of the reports and some of the allegations are 'blatantly inaccurate,' and beyond that I can't say very much."

Luck went on to admit that while the "coach-in-waiting" scenario seemed like a good idea at the time, he was not sure if he would repeat the process again. The purpose of bringing in Holgorsen would give the young coach an opportunity to teach his offense for a season before taking over the reigns as head coach. Now depending on what the university decides in their internal investigation, Luck may have some tough decision-making ahead.

Hearing the vote of confidence from Luck makes me think that Holgorsen will not find himself a victim of anything more than the bad publicity. If the internal investigation reveals that Stewart played any part in the "blatant inaccuracies," he will likely be fired or forced to resign. However, if Stewart denies Dunlap's recollection of the "dig up dirt" phone call then the university will have to figure out a way to rebuild some torched bridges. The plan was for 2011 to be Stewart's last season, which is making it awfully hard for West Virginia fans to take his side considering the current reports.

But as we saw in the beer sales debate, Luck will not be swayed by the fans' will. He has no worries about the Mountaineers in 2011 on the field, and if he thinks that Stewart and Holgorsen can co-exist for that one season then that may happen. But judging by mud that has already been slung, I find it hard to see the two co-existing for much longer.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 9:00 am
 

Stewart asked media to dig dirt on Holgorsen

Posted by Chip Patterson

The soap opera in Morgantown took another turn for the worst late Monday night/early Tuesday morning when a Pittsburgh-based sports writer told KDKA-FM that West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart suggested that the writer "dig up dirt" on future replacement Dana Holgorsen back in December.

Colin Dunlap, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was a guest on Chris Mueller's late night radio show on 93.7 The Fan (CBS Radio - Pittsburgh). As you will see from the excerpts below, Dunlap said that Stewart called him on December 18, three days after Holgorsen was hired by West Virginia as offensive coordinator and awarded the "coach-in-waiting" title.

(You can listen to the audio here, via KDKA-FM, Sports By Brooks)
“It was actually my birthday, December 18, it was the day he (Stewart) was going to the bowl game because I distinctly remember there was a coaches convention in Pittsburgh with high school coaches. He was (then) flying from Pittsburgh down to Orlando to the bowl game for pre-prep work..“

” … He (Stewart) tried to flame-throw the guy (Holgorsen) in December by calling me and at least one other reporter because the reporter and I discussed it. He said, ‘can you get the word ’scumbag’ tattooed on the front of the sports page?’

“‘(Stewart said) you need to dig up this dirt. You need to get it out on this guy.’ And I said, ‘hey man, I’m not a part of some witch hunt.’” “… If you want to go look at my cell phone records you can, I don’t need to hide from it. The conversation happened the day he (Stewart) was driving to the airport from the high school coaches convention in Pittsburgh. He was on his way to Orlando. Dave McMichael (West Virginia assistant coach) was in the car with him. The conversation happened.”

This is obviously one of the pieces that led to all the "Benedict Arnold" talk that began on Sunday night. For Stewart to reach out like that to a sports writer who primarily covers the Mountaineers' chief rival is dancing with the devil and walking her home. Unfortunately, we can only assume the reaction from this will either be a full denial from Stewart or some swift action from West Virginia.

The school began an internal investigation into leaks from within the football program after Chuck Landon's damning article of Holgorsen included what the university called "blatant inaccuracies." While this reported phone conversation did not lead to any successful "dirt," it does not look good for Stewart (or anyone connected with him) that he was trying to get bad press on Holgorsen as far back as December.

Buckle in folks, Morgantown: 26501 is just heating up. Keep checking in back here at the Eye on College Football for the response from Stewart and/or West Virginia.
Posted on: June 6, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 7:59 pm
 

A modest proposal for West Virginia

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Good evening, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck. I see times are a little rough in your football program today. What looked three months ago like a blueprint for a seamless transition into the future is now a seemingly untenable situation, one that splits your program and coaching staff in twain. That's not good to see, Mr. Luck. It harms your program, your school, your conference, and your sport.

Clearly, a fast and permanent situation is needed.

First things first: Bill Stewart must be fired. If either head coach Bill Stewart or his wife Karen Stewart are leaking damaging information to the press about head-coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen, they're clearly not "team players." That goes doubly if the leaks are gross exaggerations or outright fabrications. West Virginia needs a team player atop its football program, and let's be honest, Stewart was never in favor of the coach-in-waiting approach to begin with. So since what you really wanted all along was for Bill Stewart to no longer be coaching your program by 2012, Mr. Stewart has seen fit to accelerate the process. You should act accordingly.

Second things second: Dana Holgorsen must be fired. Yes, this is harsh, but it is clear that Mr. Holgorsen cannot be trusted with full control of this football program right now. Even as the worst report of his exploits was exaggerated, he still made headlines for his conduct outside of work hours, and that cannot be ignored. No, that incident in and of itself is not a fireable offense, except for the fact that Stewart is already fired. That means WVU would be forced to hire a coach for one year, for the sole purpose of sticking around until Holgorsen acclimates himself with the culture surrounding West Virginia Mountaineers football. That was the arrangement under which he was hired, and it seems that he has failed to meet that goal thus far. You, Mr. Luck, do not have the luxury of patience on this issue any longer! Holgorsen must go.

Third things third: There is basically nobody you can hire. We have established that Holgorsen does not meet the standards previously set forth for a proper head coach of West Virginia, being of such little experience from a culture standpoint. That is an admirable approach to take, and more athletic departments should hold themselves to such high levels of principle in such important matters. However, this also places WVU in an unenviable position, because any other coach is even farther behind in the curve than Holgorsen. West Virginia football requires a West Virginia Man, and the Venn Diagram between viable football coaches and West Virginia Men is almost two adjacent circles.

Almost.

Fourth things fourth: All hope is not lost. There is, however, one man you can hire, one man that most perfectly fits all necessary criteria. Allow us then, Mr. Luck, to make a most modest proposal.
 


Now, now, Mr. Luck: hear us out. Please put the phone down. We don't need to bring security guards into this matter and make it weird. Mr. Rich Rodriguez is the rare coach who has significant and successful BCS-level head coaching experience, is under 50 years old, and is available immediately for employment. Why, he even has seven years of experience coaching your very own West Virginia Mountaineers! Seven! Had he not made the fatal error of trusting Greg Robinson, Mr. Rodriguez would undoubtedly still be coaching the Michigan Wolverines today. If he's good enough for Michigan, my goodness, he must be good enough for West Virginia again!

And yes, I grant you that this particular arrangement did not end on a happy note for any parties involved. There was some, shall we say, hostility on both ends, and nobody wants to spend such time wallowing in the type of behavior that makes men monsters, do we? After all, Mr. Rodriguez has publicly acknowledged that he made a mistake in leaving West Virginia for Michigan, and certainly you, Mr. Luck, can acknowledge that the Bill Stewart and Dana Holgorsen hirings have been mistakes as well, no? And now, both parties are in a unique position to rectify all such mistakes. Bring things back to the "good old days." Why, Mr. Rodriguez was so generously compensated at Michigan that he would probably even be able to withstand the relative poverty of a Big East contract for a few years. Quite magnanimous, if you ask me.

So, Mr. Luck and the rest of West Virginia: when shall you be announcing the return of Mr. Rodriguez to Morgantown?

Editor's note: "A Modest Proposal" is a famous piece of satire by Jonathan Swift. It advocated eating one's children. Please bear that in mind when reading this article.

Posted on: June 6, 2011 11:19 am
Edited on: June 6, 2011 11:23 am
 

Report: West Virginia investigating leaks

Posted by Chip Patterson

West Virginia coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen has come under fire in recent weeks due to some local reports regarding alleged incidents at several casinos and race tracks. On Sunday, reports began surfacing (most notably from SB Nation's Smoking Musket) that have identified current head coach Bill Stewart as being one of the sources of the damaging reports.

On Monday morning the Charleston Daily Mail reported that Stewart's official separation agreement with the university (which has yet to be signed), has been tabled as the university investigates the entire football program for the source of "blatant inaccuracies" that were contributed to the damning reports about Holgorsen. Two high-placed sources at the school informed the Daily Mail that the Stewart's contract has been awaiting signatures for weeks, but no further work will be done in the deal until the internal inquiry is completed.

Chuck Landon, of the Huntington Herald-Dispatch had perhaps the most damning column. Assembling the stories of many different incidents, Landon repeatedly calling out Holgorsen for alcohol and gambling related issues. There are many different voices in this mess who believe that one of the main sources for Landon's column was Karen Stewart, Bill's wife.

There have been all kinds of reports of disarray within the West Virginia football program. While Oliver Luck has been busy getting beer sales approved at athletic events, the Mountaineer coaching staff looks far from united. For a team that has the talent coming back to win the Big East, news of unrest in the leadership positions comes at a poor time for West Virginia fans. As the school engages in this investigation, one thing is for sure: this is going to get messy.

Keep it here at the Eye on College Football for more on the West Virginia investigation as it develops.
Posted on: June 6, 2011 11:19 am
Edited on: June 6, 2011 11:23 am
 

Report: West Virginia investigating leaks

Posted by Chip Patterson

West Virginia coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen has come under fire in recent weeks due to some local reports regarding alleged incidents at several casinos and race tracks. On Sunday, reports began surfacing (most notably from SB Nation's Smoking Musket) that have identified current head coach Bill Stewart as being one of the sources of the damaging reports.

On Monday morning the Charleston Daily Mail reported that Stewart's official separation agreement with the university (which has yet to be signed), has been tabled as the university investigates the entire football program for the source of "blatant inaccuracies" that were contributed to the damning reports about Holgorsen. Two high-placed sources at the school informed the Daily Mail that the Stewart's contract has been awaiting signatures for weeks, but no further work will be done in the deal until the internal inquiry is completed.

Chuck Landon, of the Huntington Herald-Dispatch had perhaps the most damning column. Assembling the stories of many different incidents, Landon repeatedly calling out Holgorsen for alcohol and gambling related issues. There are many different voices in this mess who believe that one of the main sources for Landon's column was Karen Stewart, Bill's wife.

There have been all kinds of reports of disarray within the West Virginia football program. While Oliver Luck has been busy getting beer sales approved at athletic events, the Mountaineer coaching staff looks far from united. For a team that has the talent coming back to win the Big East, news of unrest in the leadership positions comes at a poor time for West Virginia fans. As the school engages in this investigation, one thing is for sure: this is going to get messy.

Keep it here at the Eye on College Football for more on the West Virginia investigation as it develops.
Posted on: June 3, 2011 4:51 pm
 

WVU board OKs stadium beer sales

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

West Virginia fans have a not-entirely-undeserved reputation for making Mountaineer Field one of the (ahem) livelier venues in college football. So when athletic director Oliver Luck suggested allowing in-stadium beer sales for Mountaineer home games, the surprise wasn't that he'd propose something so allegedly scandalous (some 30 NCAA football programs already sell beer); it was that so many Mountaineer fans came out in opposition to the idea.

But opposition or no opposition, the WVU Board of Governors decided to side with Luck today and approved the sale of beer at Mountaineer sporting events by a 10-5 vote. West Virginia's 2011 home football games will be the first events at which the new policy is in place.

Though the move will no doubt earn the WVU athletic department some pocket money, Luck and other officials said the primary motivation was to gain more control over the crowd's alcohol consumption:
Luck said he was "pleased" with the approval, which he believes will adress "coarseness" in the stands and "increase civility." The policy change will go into effect as WVU prohibits smoking in public areas of the stadium and ends its practice of allowing re-entry at Mountaineer Field during games.

"I believe we have taken a step forward toward our goal of a safer, friendlier and more civil game day experience," Luck said in a prepared statement ...

"Anybody who thinks there isn't alcohol at Mountaineer Field is either naive or blind," [board member Tom] Flaherty said. "It's been going on at every game. It is there. This is a step forward to try to control that."
The question now becomes, of course, how much this "step forward" will succeed at controlling problematic drinking and unruly behavior. But no doubt there's plenty of WVU fans happy to see the administration make their attempt in what would be, for many schools, an unorthodox manner.

Posted on: June 2, 2011 12:41 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 1:07 pm
 

WVU source denies Holgorsen alcohol allegations

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As soon as the Huntington (W.V.) Herald-Dispatch published its May 29 column reporting that new West Virginia head coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen had been involved in "as many as six" alcohol-related incidents in the past six months, the paper was rebuked by Mountaineer fans believing it to be exaggerating rumors and grinding an ax for local WVU rival Marshall.

We doubt officials at West Virginia reacted quite so vehemently. But they may not have been pleased all the same, as a report in today's Charleston Daily Mail cites a university source claiming the Herald-Dispatch report contains "blatant inaccuracies":
WVU sources said Tuesday and again Wednesday the university was reviewing the accusations in a Huntington Herald-Dispatch column from Sunday and an Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register column from the day before.

WVU was assessing the validity of the claims it believes are false. University officials were also determining whether a response to the publications would be necessary.

A WVU source said Wednesday the university will not take any action, but "knows the Herald-Dispatch story had blatant inaccuracies" ...
Specifically, that "six" number appears to have been on the high side:
A source said WVU officials have not seen the video footage from Mardi Gras Resort & Casino, but have spoken with those who have and that WVU trusts their review that Holgorsen was guilty of nothing too severe. WVU officials also called the Wheeling Island resort and casino and asked about an alleged incident before spring football began.

Holgorsen - and many others connected to WVU - attended an annual party in Wheeling that eventually spilled into the casino, but WVU found nothing wrong in conversations with casino management about that party and the behavior of those in attendance ...

The Daily Mail made attempts at different times on multiple days to speak with employees and management at Wheeling Island and the Glassworks Grill at Oglebay Resort, which was the alleged site of a separate incident. No one - and no documentation - could confirm any incident at either spot ...

The Herald-Dispatch also said Holgorsen was involved in three undefined incidents at the bar in Waterfront Place in Morgantown and that he'd been banned from the bar.

"Absolutely not true," one source said. An athletic department source also denied the ban. Holgorsen has lived in that hotel since late March.
The Daily Mail story also disputes the Herald-Dispatch's accounts of Holgorsen's visit with Houston to Marshall in 2008 and the relationship between WVU AD Oliver Luck and president James Clements. So was the original column exaggerating, possibly even "rumormongering"? It certainly seems that way. (To be fair, it admitted that some of the incidents it was reporting were "rumors.") Holgorsen may not be -- is probably not -- as incorrigible as the Herald-Dispatch column (and subsequent headlines) have made him out to be.

But does that mean this is a nonstory? No. The Daily Mail report appears to acknowledge that Holgorsen was involved with incidents of some fashion at two separate casinos, and the stern response from Luck makes it clear that this is an issue the WVU administration is taking very, very seriously. Holgorsen maybe hasn't been the out-of-control devil he's been made out to be in some quarters, but he hasn't been a saint in his time in Morgantown, either. Whatever the degree of improvement in Holgorsen's self-control that might be necessary for him to remain in charge at WVU, none of today's refutations change the fact that some improvement is required.



Posted on: May 29, 2011 2:40 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 1:08 pm
 

Report: Holgorsen in six alcohol incidents

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Almost as soon as the news leaked that new West Virginia offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen had been kicked out of a Charleston-area casino in the wee hours of a weekday night, rumors started flying that this was hardly the first such incident for the offensive whiz. And now one West Virginia newspaper is willing to put those rumors into print.

The Huntington Herald-Dispatch is reporting that Holgorsen has been involved in "as many as six" alcohol-related incidents in the past six months alone. As they recap:
The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register reported Saturday that Holgorsen allegedly was asked to leave both a bar inside Oglebay Park and, later, at Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino and Racetrack earlier this year.

Sources say there was also an incident at Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport, W.Va., which involved Holgerson being told to leave and not come back. And, then, there are rumors of three incidents at the Morgantown hotel in which he lives, including being banned from the hotel bar.

Also, there are allegations he was asked to leave the Union Pub And Grill in Huntington on Oct. 28, 2008.
Even if not all of these allegations are proven accurate, clearly there's enough veracity here to declare the initial casino incident far from an isolated occurence. Even worse, when there's this much evidence of a pattern of this kind of behavior, it throws serious doubts on Holgorsen's statement Wednesday that he would "not put [him]self in that situation again."

To be fair to Holgorsen, he has not been arrested in conjunction with any of these incidents, and there's no record of his performance during his initial spring practice with the Mountaineers being anything less than professional. (In fact, judging by the explosion of points and yards in the WVU spring game, Holgorsen's arrival appears to have been a smashing success.) Taken individually, no one incident even rises to the level of being suspension-worthy, much less a fireable offense.

But taken as a whole, it's difficult to argue Holgorsen's pattern of behavior doesn't indicate that the Mountaineers are handing their program (and millions of dollars) over to a man with legitimate self-control issues. It's far, far too early to make any judgments about Holgorsen's fitness for leadership, or, certainly, his eventual Mountaineer tenure. But if this most recent run-in at the casino doesn't prove to be a turning point for him, that time for judgment -- from an already embarrased athletic director Oliver Luck -- may arrive in an awful hurry.


 
 
 
 
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