WVU Sports with Tom Bragg

Four new coaches

Quite a morning as news quickly broke that WVU football has four new assistant coaches. Expect official announcements as soon as the four clear the bureaucratic stuff and the university receives approved background checks. Looks like the running backs coach and offensive line coach will come soon.

The hiring of Dunlap and Lockwood isn’t a great surprise and Holliday is only a bit of a shock because he left a great situation — though $400K will persuade anyone — but the Charlie Taaffe hiring is the most startling. No one saw this coming and there is great upheaval in the great white north.

Hey, stop arguing about the Stewart hire!

Kige Ramsey has checked in and he approves! Someone tell Josh Jenkins…and make sure you recite Kige’s three reasons. Just don’t use that damned iPhone.

Off to Louisville…

Beilein v. Bilas

ESPN’s Jay Bilas has always seemed like a pretty neat guy, certainly smart enough to have a Juris Doctor from Duke, engaging enough to be a member of the Screen Actors’ Guild, bright enough to speak on anything in college basketball and sharp enough to do a killer Bill Raftery impression. Onions!

Never got the impression he was particularly opinionated or, to say the least, ornery. Yet he showed me something when he put one man in his crosshairs.

Beilein has taken great pains to suggest that his players don’t know a basketball from a bowling ball, that his players are “learning how to play college basketball” and that when the Michigan coaches “give their wisdom to them, it’s got to be almost a Montessori experience.” What?! Beilein makes his players sound so stupid and clueless that it is insulting. First, and I say this as a guy who thinks that basketball is far more complicated than most seem to understand, to refer to your own basketball understanding as “wisdom” seems a bit much. Knowledge, yes. Wisdom, take a pill. Even John Wooden wouldn’t refer to his own knowledge as “wisdom.” Second, if your system is so complicated that you need to refer to recruited athletes and students admitted to the University of Michigan as the basketball equivalent of toddlers, maybe you should simplify things so you can compete favorably with Harvard, Central Michigan or Western Kentucky.

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In case you haven’t noticed, it’s been a little busy around these parts, which explains the inexplicable because recent events have kept me from getting to the Ben Moffitt Story. It has all the elements of a Lifetime movie: young love, premature parents, football, frustrations and, of course, academic misconduct.

Shauna Moffitt, the wife of University of South Florida senior linebacker Ben Moffitt, said she wrote nearly every paper for him during his five years at USF and also completed two online courses for him.

“Ben Moffitt has never written a paper,” Shauna said. “Never. Ever. I love him, but he doesn’t know how to spell. He cheats.”

Ben Moffitt, 23, who filed for divorce on Thursday from his wife of five years, called the accusations “hearsay. That’s all I can say. It’s very unfortunate for my kids,” he said, referring all questions to his attorneys. Ben Moffitt left his wife and 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter on Nov. 11, Shauna said.

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Different people and places have had different reactions to WVU announcing Bill Stewart as its new football coach, but you could see the celebration coming in Stewart’s hometown of New Martinsville and you wondered how the people would cheer the hiring. Maybe they’d name a street after him or declare some date on the calendar Billy Stewart Day.

Nope. Turns out one place had a neat idea to honor a true meat and potatoes kind of guy.

When Stewart’s hiring was announced three days ago, signs and marquee boards dotted the town, congratulating Stewart on his new job. On Main Street, Quinet’s Court Restaurant was advertising a popular “Bill Stewart Special” — a 10-ounce strip streak with French fries for $5.95.

“We’re loving every minute of this, and we wanted to honor Bill Stewart for his great achievement with a permanent item on the menu,” said Jim Quinet, whose family has owned the popular diner since the mid-1930s. 

Just yesterday a friend of mine was showing me an e-mail a friend of his had forward along. Knowing the way the Internet and e-mail works, I wondered how I hadn’t seen that yet. True, I get many messages a day and I’ll admit I tend to ignore or delete ones simultaneously forwarded to me and a list of others. Yet I was sure I hadn’t seen this one, which was upsetting because it really did make me laugh.

Well, I opened the e-mail about 20 minutes ago and there it was, forwarded to me and about a zillion other people, but no less amusing…

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Coincidence? I think not

I find it highly intriguing that on the day of one of the least-anticipated national championship games in many, many, many years, we discover major conference commissioners are open to some form of a playoff in college football.

Each commissioner also stated that the SEC, ACC, Big East and Big 12 are open to discussing the “plus-one” format. The Big Ten and Pac-10 have been opposed to it.

Swofford, who is the incoming BCS chair, said the nature of the 2007 season and its weekly upheaval has motivated his presidents and athletic directors to reconsider a plus-one model.

“A lot of people look at it and say … maybe it would be better if more than two teams had the opportunity to play for the national championship,” Swofford said.

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Clearly, no ordinary Joe

If ever there were a method to the madness, it was on display Sunday as Joe Mazzulla willed West Virginia to a victory against No. 10 Marquette. He may look it and act it as he plays, but It would be unfair to say Mazzulla is crazy.

Then again …

“You don’t know the half of it,” teammate Joe Alexander.

The half we know of says Mazzulla is an energetic, tireless competitor, a champion track star who lives life just as fast and takes things an hour at a time. He shares an apartment with teammates Da’Sean Butler, Jonnie West and Cam Thoroughman and they’ll to do random things, like steel cage matches or buy Mazzulla a parrot for his birthday over the summer.

“I was ecstatic,” he said.

That other half? I’m told we wouldn’t believe it, but that it needs investigated.

“You should do a documentary on him. That’s a story. A documentary on Joe Mazzulla’s life,” Alexander said.

I’m in.

Green gone

Jacob Green is transferring.


I did something pretty neat last night. I believe it was called sleep. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Anyhow, nothing to see here today, but I really feel I can’t add anything to what you all have done here the past few days. I suggest going through some of the comments in the prior two posts. I believe Philip said it, and of course I agree, but they’re very rational and informative and I think that helps as everyone tries to get a grasp on exactly what is happening right now. I’ll admit, I’ve been impressed and altered by what some of you have had to said. Keep up the good work.