Craig Turnbull punches back

Fired Friday, Craig Turnbull, the now former longtime wrestling coach at West Virginia, offered his side of the story. It’s one that hints at age discrimination and tells of a tactless ouster, but one that others might tell you is much like many other firings, even ones for like reasons. Whether we like it or not, whether Turnbull likes it or not, sometimes a coach just isn’t getting it done and he is asked to justify his existence when presented with doubts that it should continue.

Whatever the truth, whatever the outcome, Turnbull’s two cents about a lengthy conclusion are on the table now.

35 Responses to “Craig Turnbull punches back”

  1. NotFooled says:

    sounds like someone is trying to pull a VanZant

  2. tls62pa says:

    Turnbull is delusional. The program is nowhere to be on an upswing. We haven’t had a SINGLE all American since 2007. Hardly any remotely close (2 or 3 round of 12 guys). That is absolutely pathetic for a program that should be a perennial top 25 program. And don’t give me the 11-7 season turnaround BS. Those wins were against programs such as Anderson (D2), the Midlands (who is that?), Gardner Webb, Davidson, etc. We won a division 2 tournament. The program was in shambles and Turnbull did nothing for years. Time for new blood, and Turnbull is salty for it.

    BTW check out this article on wrestling spending vs NCAA point coorelation. Check out who is at the bottom….

  3. tls62pa says:

    And don’t give CT too much credit for the successes of Greg Jones and other Mountaineer greats. That should be attributed to former assistants Zeke Jones and Nate Carr.

  4. SheikYbuti says:

    My opinion of Craig Turnbull went from “in the category of Don Nehlen” to “in the category of Greg Van Zant” in the 2 minutes it took me to read Hertzel’s article this morning.

  5. avb31 says:

    It’s not like Luck has a history of bungling coaching changes…

  6. CM says:

    Can someone name a single program other than Womens basketball that has gotten better since Luck has come aboard. Ollie is woefully in over his head. He should retire so he can watch his talented son play in Indy.

    And his coaching changes are the laughingstock of the NCAA.

    To pull such a low class stunt and fire Craig the way he did shows his true character.

    I only hope Craig hires good Attorneys and goes after Luck with a vengeance.

    BTW, if Craig lit into Ollie after he thumped Craig’s chest, even at 61, he would have made him his biatch in the bliunk of an eye.

  7. Down South says:

    The amount of time it took that Turnbull article to go from being an informed piece about problematic employment practices to a hatchet job by a a reporter with an axe to grind and a motivated plaintiff’s lawyer is roughly the same amount of time it takes one to accidentally tweet an incendiary direct message.

  8. tls62pa says:

    Avb, you mean like the volleyball, baseball, and gymnastics ones?

  9. Down South says:

    Oh, wait. We already did the Hertzel jokes in another post. Darn it.

    Before anybody buys into Turnbull’s self-serving claims about the direction of the team, consider these two points. Last season, our only dual meet victory was over Division III Johns Hopkins. We were blown out by every decent team we faced. This year, there were two freshmen wrestlers from the State of West Virginia, redshirt freshman, Dylan Cottrell (Roane County) of Appalachian State, and Justin Arthur (Huntington) of Clarion. Cottrell was ranked for most of the season, but got a tough draw at the NCAA tournament and didn’t win a match. Justin Arthur, a true freshman, scored more team points by himself than the entire WVU wrestling team. The team has been a dumpster fire since Zeke Jones left. My only complaint with Turnbull’s ouster is that it took so long. And that there wasn’t a picture of him wearing a ball cap that says “RELAX” to accompany Hertzel’s article.

  10. Down South says:

    That should have said that there were two wrestlers from the State of West Virginia that competed at the NCAA tournament.

  11. tls62pa says:

    All you have to do is keep the good WV wrestlers at home and pound the Pittsburgh and Cleveland area for all the talent you need. It’s obvious that there has been no development once they get on campus, tho. Heck, we had top 5 recruiting classes in 2004 and 2005 that only yielded 2 All American finishes (Brandon Rader took 6th twice). The schedule needs totally revamped, and energy has to be brought to the development of the wrestlers.

  12. lowercase jeff says:

    tls62pa – i love when followers of our lower exposure sports stop by. please dont be a stranger.

    there used to be a contributor hear who was hip to the track beat. that’s right. hip to the track beat. anyway, what happened to her?

  13. JC says:

    Anyone see Mickey’s rant…..doesn’t anyone under the age of 60 give a rat’s @$$ what he thinks?

    How about the Hertzel slip on Twitter?

    Nothing like unbiased media coverage…..

  14. I love you, Doug! says:


  15. Down South says:

    “And Luck reneged on a scheduled fourth year at the helm with Dana Holgorsen as ‘head coach in waiting.’”

    That’s certainly one way you could spin it

  16. tls62pa says:

    Thanks Jeff. I wrestled under Turnbull and it really turned me off to the way he ran the program. It makes it burn more to see how poorly we have been doing. I coach now, and still am a die-hard WVU wrestling fan. I just want to see the program succeed. We have everything it takes to be a top program, just need someone to lead it.

  17. smeer says:

    don’t know much about wrestling but do have an anecdotal story. last year CT recruited a kid who had formerly went to my son’s high school. the kid could wrestle – won states his sophomore and junior years. but he had some character issues which is why I say “formerly went to my son’s high school.” Seems at a party his sister got drunk off her gourd and loose which tends to happen with the former. she slept with an equally inebriated boy. so dad comes home and finds them in a compromising position and runs the boy off. next day at school, state champion wrestler decides to try out his wrestling moves on his sister’s partner, picks the kid up and body slams him head first (chivalry is not dead?). to cover up/diffuse his assault, his family claims rape of the sister – both boys get expelled and end up at different high schools in the county. CT recruited and brought this kid to WVU and he doesn’t last the semester – I heard drug use. So stuff like this happens – every kid needs a second chance – but personally – I was embarrassed that WVU would put a kid with this kind of baggage in their program. , , , soon to air on an episode of Jerry Springer

  18. MontanaEer says:

    Mickey, Domenick “Mickey” Furfari Jr., who served in the U.S. Army in World War II from 1943-46, part of that time as sports editor of Pacific Stars and Stripes, five-time West Virginia Sports Writer of the Year, lifetime member of the WVU Alumni Association, in his 17th year as a special writer/columnist for syndicate of seven West Virginia newspapers, he funny.

    *forgive the undocumented cut-and-paste :)

  19. JPWVURFL says:

    Transition is never easy and it takes time. Investments have been made into the wrestling program. They have a fairly new and nice pavilion. This is an issue where facilities is not a problem. Eventually you have to move on. If any coach feels they “deserve” to stay, they probably aren’t a great coach. Kind of goes against the whole mantra of coaching, improving, and earning your spot. Mr. Turnbull did some good, but you want to see improvement. OL is doing what any other person in his position would do. This isn’t the government, this is a business looking for the most productivity and best results and the previous manager wasn’t getting it done. Oliver is looking at data and it’s not good. He could have cleaned house all at once, but he’s taken it gradually and deliberately.

    I also don’t understand the Big XII arguments. Wrestling has nothing to do with the Big XII and it was most definitely not the reason we went to the Big XII. Wrestling has never been a member of a traditional conference. It’s not like the Big
    East had a wrestling conference. Because of the changes, huge improvements in almost every facet of the department will be underway soon, many are focusing on the fan experience. Change is necessary and constant. Otherwise, you’re standing in the way and haven’t truly acknowledged how life functions. I now view Mickey as the “dang kids, get off my lawn” portion of the fan base.

  20. SheikYbuti says:

    What if Furfari were summoned to Luck’s office for an “exclusive” interview?

    OL: Mick, the folks I have talked to have told me they think you have been there too long, you’ve lost your energy, your enthusiasm, your writing edge. What do you say to that?

    MF: That’s like saying a football coach couldn’t do his job at 80 because he was too young and didn’t know anything and couldn’t do it at 110 because he was almost too old.

    OL: Next year, it better be better.

    MF: It doesn’t matter what you say. I will continue to do the same job I’ve done for the last 75 years.

    OL: Don’t make me tap you in the chest.

    MF: I’m going to write for another year and attend retirement ceremonies in my honor, like Mariano Rivera did. Or was it Ty Cobb? I get those two mixed up.

    OL: I haven’t made a decision yet whether you’ll be allowed to write another year.

    MF: That’s disrespectful.

    OL: You’re not Grantland Rice or Red Smith, and do not get to choose when to step down and who will take your place.

    MF: You’re comparing ME to THOSE pups?

    OL: That’s the last straw. I’m gonna need you to hand over your Life Alert and your pass to the Heritage Point Village dinner buffet.

  21. SheikYbuti says:

    Disclaimer: I love Mickey. He deserves all the wonderful things anyone will say about him. But he’s clearly gone way off the rails this time. Even if he had a point (and there’s a valid one, perhaps, somewhere in that rant), the skill to make it artfully and persuasively now eludes him. And that is a shame.

  22. I love you, Doug! says:

    Bob Hertzel ‏@bhertzel 2h

    I would like to publicly and sincerely apologize to WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen for calling him a clown yesterday in a tweet that went public.

  23. Wayward Eer says:

    The one thing you have to admire about OL is that he is consistent. If the respective program is not performing it does not matter how long the leader has been around, they are held accountable. Imagine that, just like the real world we all live in.

  24. NotFooled says:

    Hertzel is a buffoon…

  25. To follow up on Down South's comment says:

    Just to follow up on Dylan Cottrell and Justin Arthur going elsewhere to wrestle and both qualifying for the NCAA tournament…..

    To my knowledge, CT did not recruit either one. Not a letter. Not a come up and walk on….nothing. One of which really had an interest in WVU.

    This is long overdue. A near 500 record would not be accepted in any other sport…and I get wrestling is different…but why should it fly to have a near 500 record in dual meets and be accepted?

    Wrestling is unique in that you create individual champions with the possibility of a team championship. WVU has done neither since Greg Jones (2005).

    The high school wrestling community in WV doesn’t produce a huge amount of D1 potential wrestlers….but the ones that are produced are never good enough for WVU, but are good enough for Purdue, Appy State, Virginia Tech, Clarion, Cornell, Citadel…..list goes on and on.

    If you think the coaches don’t see this…you’re nuts. Probably no one more excited than the high school coaches in WV.

  26. pknocker40 says:

    Does this pave the way for Mean Gene’s triumphant *return* to Morgantown?

  27. AnxiousEER97 says:

    There is an entitlement mentality coming from some of the former employees of the Athletic Department – Vann Zant, Kern, Parsons, Turnbull.

  28. tls62pa says:

    I do think it is important to note, that while the Big XII only has 4 wrestling programs, 3 of those are some of the most elite. OK State has won more NCAA titles in wrestling than any other NCAA program in a specific sport (36), and is top 5 nearly every year. Oklahoma is a top ten team. Iowa State has seen better days, but is still a top team that brings great historic value. It would take a LOT to be at the top of the league. We may ALWAYS be at the bottom of the Big XII, but I just want to see us be competitive. Make the matches interesting.

  29. HendersonvilleMountaineer says:

    Two things that Oliver Luck requires of his olympic sport teams:
    Actively Market yourselves and sport (ex: Jill Kramer and the volleyball team practicing at the towers beach court today)
    Play a tough non-conference schedule (Men’s Soccer team playing all of final four this past fall)

    Turnbull did neither and when he did set up a top non conference match (Penn State) he go smoked.

    He doesn’t recruit very well and he develops even poorly. Also its highly unacceptable for a coach to have to forfeit a weight EVER in D-1 wrestling, that should never happen at this level.

    Look at his scores from oklahoma st. he barely scored a win in a MATCH not the DUEL… one match IN TWO YEARS

  30. SheikYbuti says:

    Now HERE is an eerie little excerpt from a Hertzel commentary written early last football season. Is is prescience, foreshadowing, or a Freudian slip? Is it fair to say that Bob’s favorite Stephen King novel is “It?”


    “It is true that for someone who has changed the school uniforms and obviously believes in an image that is presented by the way you present yourself, he might also believe that applies to him, too, and a coach who won’t wear school colors will rub a lot of people the wrong way … unless he wins.

    Win and he can coach in a clown outfit and no one will complain … but a coach has to earn the right to go away from wearing school colors.”

  31. I love you, Doug! says:

    Great archival work, Sheik.

  32. Drew says:

    Any chance DH goes Bryce Harper on Hertz at the next press conference?

    Or he could go Gundy on him. I’m a clown! I’m 42!

  33. MontanaEer says:

    Notice the wording: Hertz more so apologizes for accidentally sending out the tweet than for the ad hominem attack on HCDH.

  34. mountainman says:

    Heard a rumor Turner recruited a kid 17 yrs old (197) who was supposed to wrestle @ West Point