WVU Sports with Tom Bragg

More good news for WVU…

Quite a Tuesday in Morgantown. To review…

Mud slinging between WVU and former football coach Rich Rodriguez reached unpredictable proportions. A possibility also arose that WVU may have hindered its own lawsuit against Rodriguez. WVU officials knew for about two weeks files were missing, but someone chirped and made the news public when the athletic department was aware and apparently OK with keeping it quiet. WVU was then left without answers to many questions it was being asked, which is not entirely its fault.

Anyhow, the news prompted an agitated and — wouldn’t you know it — calculated response from the Rodriguez camp in which it became clear that if there are no backups to the vanquished files, Rodriguez could have evidence of institutional problems that contributed to his resignation. The buyout isn’t tucked as tightly in WVU’s pocket as it was 24 hours ago.

Oh, and two days after Coach Bill Stewart used him as a justification for Steve Slaton to leave school early and secure financial security, Pacman Jones went Pacman Jones.

Note to Steve: Stay out of the strip clubs.

Much ado about Tuesday

A brief recap of events from Tuesday, a day that began with the revelation Rich Rodriguez had (allegedly) destroyed documents before leaving WVU for Michigan. Let’s agree to call this the “Shred Offense” — sounds like spread offense, refers to the offense Rodriguez (allegedly) committed by shredding documents.

– Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Mike Fragale confirmed the athletic department is investigating the incident. That was all he knew and all he would say. 

– A statement from Rodriguez or his representation is expected this evening. 

Edit: Here it is:

“West Virginia University decided to file a law suit against Rich Rodriguez. While certain individuals have made a decision to take this public, Coach Rodriguez has withheld making any comments until the appropriate time in regards to this legal process.”

– WVU is not sure what was destroyed, let alone if copies exist. Both are central issues in the investigation.

– Law enforcement has not been involved. Yet.

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According to Jim Carty of the Ann Arbor (Mich.) News, Rich Rodriguez’s lawer is expected to issue some sort of a statement this afternoon regarding today’s reports the former WVU coach and those under his command destroyed files and records in their final days on campus. I got to know Jim a little through some obvious past experiences and I’d say this is probably legit. I’d also say you can expect what amounts to an outright denial.

The entire day has been spent with the proverbial ear to the ground. This … this is very interesting. As one WVU employee said to me today, “It’s getting really ugly.”

Tried to make the best of a rather obvious point today in explaining how and why home teams are so dominant in the Big East this season. I regret to say that in trying to enlighten everyone on WVU’s 14-game home winning streak, I forgot one rather important advantage. Seriously, look at and listen to the crowd!

To be honest, Jarrett Brown joining the men’s basketball team wasn’t “news” to those covering the team. A few had asked lately about the possibility and all were rebuffed, one as recently as Saturday. Brown showed up in a team sweat suit Sunday, which then made it news in that suspicions became confirmations.

Who so suddenly, though? Well, maybe it wasn’t about just basketball or just Jarrett Brown. Maybe there was more to this.

Such dual duties may help to lure recruits who are two-sport stars, such as Jeannette’s Terrelle Pryor. Previous coach Rich Rodriguez, now at Michigan, was pitching that possibility to Pryor even though few of Rodriguez’s Mountaineers competed in a sport other than football.

He said he never said that

James Napolillo, principal at Suncrest Middle School, says he never hassled Tony Gibson’s son.

“It’s a lie,” said James Napolillo, principal of Suncrest Middle School. “I don’t know why he would say such a thing.”

Gibson is one of several WVU coaches who followed Rich Rodriguez to Michigan.

After Rodriguez’s press conference there on Friday, Michigan reporters had the chance to interview his new assistants individually.

Gibson spoke about the bitterness of some WVU fans.

He was quoted in The Detroit News as saying: “My wife had to go into my son’s school and talk to the principal because the principal was saying things to my 13-year-old son.

“I’m from there, my brother works in public service, and people say things. Where I’m from, it’s a small town and they support my move. (West Virginia) is a place we need to stay out of for a while.” 

Backcourt strikes back

Considering WVU’s lack of size and depth in the post and the emphasis on pressure when playing defense, it’s fairly safe to say the men’s basketball team will go as far as the guards will take it. In other words, while Thursday was rather disappointing, Sunday was extremely promising.

There are faster, stronger and more athletic backcourts in the Big East and there are guards that are better on offense or defense, but one wonders if any tandem is as bright and as efficient as is WVU’s duo of Darris Nichols and Alex Ruoff. To that, there probably isn’t a backcourt a team relies upon as much, either. Oh, Villanova and Marquette need their guards a lot, but you can’t say they need them more than WVU.  Performances and subsequent results prove as much

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Friday Feedback

Try as I might, I cannot escape this “Groundhog Day” feeling. It seems every day for the last month or so has been the same. Who’s coaching? Who’s coming? Who’s interviewing? Who’s reporting? Who’s right? It will end and hopefully soon, but it lives on another day here as the return of the Friday Feedback is dominated by coaching news.

As always, comments appear as posted. In other words, I’m no editer.

JP says:

Don’t forget Taaffe’s recruiting areas in the football hotbeds of various lightly populated counties in Maryland, Canada, upstate New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

http://umterps.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/taaffe_charlie00.html (scroll to bottom)

Mike, why wasn’t it reported that Tiger-Cats President Scott Mitchell said you West Virginia media-types are a bunch of hosers and the lot of you should take off, eh? Hacks!

This is the obvious, and I feel anticipated, starting point. You know by now everything that was said Thursday by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to refute reports their coach, Charlie Taaffe, would join WVU’s football staff. For a day, at least, it was correct. Friday arrived and Coach Bill Stewart announced David Lockwood would coach cornerbacks, Steve Dunlap safeties and Chris Beatty running backs. No Taaffe, but no Doc Holliday, either, and no one doubts Holliday is coming. In fact, Stewart has ANOTHER teleconference at 11 a.m. tomorrow, presumably for the same purpose as today’s. (EDIT: Stewart announced Holliday’s hiring Saturday morning.) The claim made by said president regarding an apology or retraction is … mysterious, to say the least. Taaffe did interview in Morgantown Tuesday and confirmed as much Thursday night, when he told Jim Laise of WVSports.com that a lot of what happens in the future depends on his contract with the Ticats. So to recap, there was an interview, there were discussions with the Ticats regarding the current contract and there is a decision to be made. Think of that as you read the denials from the team Thursday. Go ahead. I’ll be here when you get back…

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Upcoming schedule

Just about to leave Louisville and I’ll land in Pittsburgh at about the time Bill Stewart has his 2 p.m. teleconference. I’ll come back after that to discuss some things, hirings included. Too much went on yesterday too ignore.

Additionally, you all have contributed some really good comments and discussions this week, which is neither new nor a surprise. What has changed is my down time and that I have a little more of it now, which makes this a good time to revive Friday Feedback … though it might not be until Saturday. It’s the thought that counts, right?

What a day

Louisville thumps West Virginia and it’s a tertiary note on a rather busy day. No matter what anyone is saying — and I’m looking right at you, Canada — the football staff is falling into place and for some reason, Coach Bill Stewart has a teleconference at 2 p.m. today. I doubt it’s the beginning of some Friday Feedback — already taken — or to discuss his plans for the weekend.

All this stuff about the four assistant coaches should be settled and Charlie Taaffe will have to sit on one side of the fence. All I can say right now — and I promise, I intend to say much, much more later — is that Jim Laise of WVSports.com got Taaffe on the phone sometime after I left him at the basketball game and Taaffe confirmed meeting with Stewart and said he needed time to think about the job and to talk to his CFL team because he’s still under contract. This seems to fly in the face of what his CFL team was saying today, no?