Thursday, April 27, 2006

Beilein Stays...Good?

Well, Beilein finally broke his silence and has decided to stay at West Virginia. On one hand, I am happy about that. It would be quite a blow to the program is he walked away considering where we are now...only one returning starter and not much to build on. If he left, we risked losing recruits and taking a major PR hit. On the other hand, I still question how much this guy wants to be at West Virginia. He flirted with Indiana and NC State publicly...who knows what other types of offers he entertained? Did he stay because he wanted to or because Pastilong's buyout clause was trapping him? Only John knows for sure. I hope it's because he truly likes WVU and wants to continue building the program because, if he's trapped, that's doesn't bode well for the future.

One thing that is certain is that Beilein's prestigious stature among West Virginia fans has been tarnished. Many loyal fans have turned on the popular coach, publicly calling for his departure and wanting someone who "wants to coach at WVU" to feel the position. Well, I'm not sure how likely that is. WVU has a history of getting coaches for short terms. The fact is, until Gale Catlett and Don Nehlen, the coaches bolting Morgantown was the rule, not the exception. Mountaineer fans were simply spoiled by the 24-year tenure of Catlett and 20-year tenure of Nehlen. Both coaches could have left WVU at multiple times but remained loyal to the university and the fans. That isn't the way coaching usually works.

I would venture to say that if Rich Rodriguez has a successful season in football this year, we will be facing the same anxiety with his career decisions despite his unquestioned loyalty to WVU. And, it wouldn't be a major shock if he moved on. And WVU isn't alone in this problem. Coaches are constantly coming and going all over the sports world. Look at all the changes this year alone. So, Mountaineer fans, get used to this type of anxiety. It's likely we will never be so lucky as to have another Catlett or Nehlen. But it doesn't mean we can't have more successful years.

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