Tuesday, April 3, 2007

No hard feelings

Is someone playing Space Invaders?  No they are just introducing Darris Nichols.Various media outlets are reporting that John Beilein has accepted an offer to become the new coach at the University of Michigan and will be announced on Wednesday. If the reports are true the Wolverines will be paying $2.5 million in buyout money plus over a million dollars in annual salary.

According to the Daily Mail the early candidates to replace Beilein are former WVU assistant and current EKU coach Jeff Neubauer who runs the same system as Beilein, Travis Ford of UMass, and Jerry Dunn. More names will pop up as the search goes on including Huggy Bear.

Hopefully WVU athletic director Ed Pastilong puts the $2.5 million buy out to good work and invests all of the money back into the basketball program. A new scoreboard and renovated facilities could go a long way toward improving the feel of the program. Also spend $10 and come up with new sound effects during the introductions. The 1973 laser sounds don't really get anyone fired up.

As for Coach Beilein the writing has been on the wall for over a year now. In fact, early ticket sales for the team were slow and a main reason was that people didn't want to support the team if Beilein was just leaving anyway. This years team erased that feeling, however, with their play. Beilein is leaving this year is totally different than last. Last year it felt like Beilein was jumping with the job of rebuilding to be left to someone else. He was taking the first life raft off of a sinking ship. Well he apparently still took the first offer, but the rebuilding has already been done. It's funny how much difference a year makes. This year there is not much anger or righteous indignation over Beilein leaving. Instead it feels more like the business that major athletics has become. The reality is that Beilein came to WVU as the third choice amidst possible NCAA infractions. He cobbled together a recruiting class in no time and ran off some of the best players. In five years he rebuilt a program in desperate need of direction. But, WVU was not a final destination for Beilein. He wanted one shot at a bigger name, more money, and a shot at the national title. He may have had all of those things here, but his mind was made up to try it elsewhere where maybe the recruiting was easier or the relationship with the AD was better.

I don't think WVU fans can be mad, however, given the last 3 years. The basketball program has a pulse again. Now it is up to Pastilong to make the most important hire of his tenure. He almost let RRod go if not for boosters stepping up and he has let Beilein walk. We had two of the best coaches in college athletics and almost lost them both. It is imperative to not only replace Beilein with a quality coach and individual, but to spend some money on the facilities in order to offset any reputation that WVU is starting to build as a stepping stone school.


Brave Sir Robin said...

How many times do you think we should post this story. It is well written, articulate and quasi-planned-out. I still think once is enough though.

Considering the forecast of impending doom and a week or so of delayed winter- we should go golfing immediately.

letsplaytummysticks said...

Stupid blogger, at one point I think it was up there 10 times.