Do we spot a trend?

Startlingly, just as I left for a few days off last week, West Virginia announced the hiring of its new golf coach. This follows not long after the Mountaineers named a wrestling coach. Sean Covich, who has kinda sorta done this before, is Oliver Luck’s eight head coaching hire in seven of the school’s 17 sports:

Randy Mazey in baseball
Tina Samara in women’s tennis
Miha Lisac in women’s tennis
Sammie Henson in wrestling
Dana Holgorsen in football
-Mr. Covich
Jason Butts in gymnastics
Jill Kramer in volleyball

I don’t know, but I think that’s a lot of activity — firings and hirings — for a guy who still hasn’t been here for four years, but it’s nevertheless a list and that list offers a broad sampling from which ideas can be formed.

And so I’m curious about two things:

1) Whether or not the jury is out on a particular coach or particular coaches, what’s your opinion of the hires? I mean that in a broad sense, be it the pick or the subsequent results or anything in between or on the outside.

2) Is there, or can you form, a pattern in people Luck has picked? I ask that because there are some overlapping elements to this, but, as is often the case, I wonder if maybe it’s just me.

14 Responses to “Do we spot a trend?”

  1. Parks says:

    Mazey is without a doubt the best hire ADOL has made. I can see progress made with HCDH, even if others can’t, simply around the program itself. I really hope he’s allowed to develop this program as I really think it will pay off in the long term. If you look at what Butts or Kramer took over, they had (and continue to have) a lot of changes to make. Without the support your major sports, which I now include baseball in, it takes more time. Time will tell on some of the others, including ones that just got here but I really like the Henson hire.

    All of that said, the trend I see with the hires is that they’re all relatively long time assistants who’ve never gotten a real shot to be a head coach in their field but have been apart of very successful teams in the past. Generally those teams have played in or against Big 12 competition. I think ADOL wants coaches that know the mid-west, that have had years to understand how Big 12 teams play in each sport so that they can translate that over to the student athletes.

  2. Oklahoma Mountaineer says:

    I will say this — this is a lot of hiring actions…..that said, you can see a trend. People who appear to be up and coming, who work at good programs, and ones in the footprint of the Big 12 conference.

    I don’t know anything specific about the wrestling coach other than he came from Missouri……the same Missouri who qualified all 10 wrestlers for the NCAA tournament. Missouri may have their best days behind them in terms of wrestling solely in that they have left once of the best conferences for wrestling and joined one of the weakest. Big 12 wrestling before Missouri and Nebraska jumps ship is one of the best, if not the best, in the country.

    Only hire that draws real fire in this list is Holgerson — he’s the main bread winner at the Flagship University……..and he’s got a tough hand again this year with the Tide in the opening game slot. Hoping and praying that we see a bowl this year or he may have to do another hiring action……..

  3. tls6apa says:

    The only thing against the Big XII, in terms of wrestling, is the size. 4 schools. Granted, the other 3 schools are some of the best programs in the history of NCAA wrestling, but the conference tournament isn’t up to par in numbers. The NCAA wrestling committee just stripped the Big XII of any automatic qualifiers from its conference tournament. Now, a Big XII wrestler will have to reach silver or gold standard and thrown into the wild card pool. Sad day.

    I don’t need to go into detail again of my love affair with this hire. All I’m saying is, just wait and see.

  4. Karl says:

    I sometimes wonder if, hypothetically, WVU was in or on its way to the Big 12 conference at the time Luck was easing Stewart out, whether Holgorsen would have been that hire. The Air Raid offense gave us a schematic edge in the Big East for the same reason Rich Rod’s zone-read and the Casteel stack did — no one else was running it, so it was difficult to prepare for. On the other side of that coin, I thought Don Nehlen’s decline could partially be attributed to the fact that he was running basic I formation schemes against other teams that were, but some of those other programs had the resources to recruit better athletes. It’s tough to succeed when you’re doing the same thing as your competitors with inferior personnel.

    Isn’t that where we are now? It’s going to be difficult to keep up in a conference where six of your nine competitors (OSU, Baylor, OU, Texas Tech, and now TCU and ISU) are running a variation of the same offense. And what does it say that KSU and Bill Snyder, who play old school power football, consistently overachieve with way inferior recruiting? Might Don Nehlen actually be a better coach for WVU in the Big 12 than Holgorsen?

  5. Parks says:

    HCDH would have absolutely been top on Luck’s radar. A successful assistant with ties to the mid-west and coaching in the Big 12. Big 12, the top offensive league in the country with an assistant who had worked his way up through with the top offenses at every stop. If he wasn’t tops on the list, he’d be pretty damn close I believe.

  6. chocolate covered bacon says:

    Agree with Parks and Oklahoma, I would only add that all seem to say the correct things and appear to want to build their respective program at WVU. They all say, in one form or another, they’ve found a home. It will be interesting to see how many of those names are still in Morgantown in say 3,4,5 years.

    HCDH seems to be in the most precarious situation, coming off a bad year and having the toughest football schedule in the Big-12 this year. I probably shouldn’t mention this, but I wonder should the season go all bad, if Luck hasn’t already hired his next head football coach in that event. A 2-4 start to the season and it will get ugly fast for HCDH. Much like Mazey calls for a relief pitcher, I keep getting the vision in my head of Luck tapping his right elbow and looking at Tom Bradley. I think of Bradley as a head coach in waiting that isn’t a head coach in waiting.

    At least on paper, Luck has done a fantastic job of staffing his athletic department with quality coaches. It doesn’t hurt that he inherited two quality basketball, and soccer coaches either.

    Should we list LeBlanc too? Didn’t Penn St. make a run at him right after Luck was hired, or has the tea effected my memory again.

  7. SheikYbuti says:

    Well, ccb, it didn’t take long for Samara to leave after Luck hired her. She was a big upgrade on what we had previously, but I can’t get a read on Lisac yet. Arguably, women’s tennis was in the worst shape of any program upon ADOL’s arrival, and that probably includes golf (which is saying something).

  8. Dann White says:

    Well, if ADOL didn’t already have a Big 12 deal for WVU worked out when he took the job; it sure fooled me. Let’s face it; what other conference would he have developed strong ties to while working in the Longhorn State for so many seasons.
    My take on that hire: HCDH should have been brought in as coordinator, period! Future plans for his ascension to HC should have been kept under wraps for a full year – he could have learned a few things about WVU, the psyche of our players, and yes; about being a head coach from Stew.
    As much as a part of me in those days, felt like Stewart embarrassed the school by his clumsiness with the press, he sure had a way of winning the hearts, the devotion of, and every ounce of effort from his players. It seems, to a man, they still feel the same about him as they did when they played as he coached.
    I don’t believe it was done so coldly on purpose, but he deserved a little better than he got, if only for his W/L record. For the record, I supported the move then, but regret it happened as it did today. I grade the hire: C-, the attempt to have a coach-in-waiting: D-, the final grade: Incomplete.
    Mazey seems after one season to have a better than even chance to be a good hire. He’s barely had time to get his feet on the ground, yet he seems to have hit it running team-spirit wise. At this point I grade it B.
    Sammy Henson, I know nothing except that this move has drawn a great deal of praise from everyone I have sought opinions from, and who know wrestling well. Our resident wrestling devotee, TLS was my favorite reference for Sammy, and the fact that my grandson is a promising scholastic wrestler has cranked up my excitement considerably for the sport. My grade: a hopeful B+.
    I am one of those fellows who consistently gets a wierd look from my friends and associates for my total apathy regarding the game of golf. Played putt-putt as a kid, but preferred chasing skirts and talking WVU Sports to chasing golf balls around a pasture as time went by.
    My Junior High coach had a grading system where you made an A for dressing for gym daily, a C for showing up daily, and an E if you were too trifling to show up there at all. Based on the ACE Grading Scheme; Sean Covich gets an A.

    Did I say I met Mike when he was in Charleston for NFL Draft Preview? He is much taller in person. Welcome back Mike!

  9. Dann White,

    1. It was obvious that Bill Stewart wasn’t willing to guide Holgorsen. Luck seemed to take your line of thinking and ease Stew out while grooming Holgo for the job. We all know how that went down…

    2. Why would Holgorsen take a coordinator job at WVU when he was already a coordinator at Oklahoma State? It stands to reason that he wouldn’t have come to WVU if he wasn’t guaranteed the head coaching job.

  10. anxiouseer97 says:

    Another common denominator among the new hires – little to zero prior history with WVU or WV. I’m not faulting that, but I think it’s telling – of something.

  11. hoot says:

    One thing I think it tells us is you won’t find large crowd of quality coaches out there
    who have ties to WVU and would be willing to come back here to coach. That number will vary from sport to sport, but I think we can all agree it is not going to take too many fingers and maybe a few toes to count them.

  12. JPWVURFL says:

    I think Holgs is the only one that we have a clearer picture about, but that still needs to play out. Mazey has undoubtedly been a great hire. I think everyone else is a wait and see because some of those hires have happened only in the past couple of years or last month.

    Not only have the coaches been changed, but so has some admin positions at the AD. Luck is changing and molding the department to his vision of success. An all-around healthy department means a lot to a conference and associated contracts. Remember when the Big East got rid of Temple? We don’t want to be the Temple of the Big XII.

    For the older generation, the change might be viewed negatively (i.e. Mickey). For most others, change is necessary. If you aren’t willing to change, you’re being left behind. It’s the rule of the modern world. Luck is in tune with that and is using it.

    Let’s wait 5 years and see where we are. A lot can happen between now and then and will be more telling of his decisions, whether he is still here or not.

  13. Dann White says:

    I merely said keep it under wraps for a while, Stewart might have played along were he allowed to keep his pride intact.nIf just for what he did as interim coach; he deserved that much. I didn’t feel this way so much when ithappened, hindsight id 20/20!

  14. Dann White says:

    dodn’t I type well?