Oliver Luck, days before being named Athletic Director at West Virginia University
If the noise surrounding TCU and a hop to the Big East conference turns into music, it'll appeal to West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck.
The man is one of the most competitive people West Virginia has known. As it is said in Almost Heaven, Luck "will make dang sure" no team, especially a Texas team, will run through the Big East, much less think about it.
It was a Saturday afternoon in 1978 when true freshman quarterback Oliver Luck first ran onto Mountaineer Field. Cal-Berkeley and quarterback Rich Campbell had taken a three touchdown advantage. West Virginia coach Frank Cignetti knew the man he had in there was basically flailing about, so he figuratively handed Luck the ball.
Luck essentially did not give the ball back. And, he still has it.
Luck led a spirited comeback, but he didn't beat Cal that day. That season, and the following two, the young quarterback from Cleveland led the Mountaineers and didn't beat much of anybody. West Virginia finished 2-9 in 1978, 4-7 in 1979, and even after hiring Don Nehlen as the head coach, only 6-6 in 1980.
Things changed his senior year. Yeah, they lost their annual games as always to Pittsburgh, Penn State, and Syracuse, but the Mounties out of the Eastern Independents at 8-3 did well enough to secure an invitation to the Peach Bowl to play 17-point favorites Florida.
In those days, West Virginia had grown comfortable with having to pull an incredible upset to win. So, that's what they did. Under the leadership of Luck, the Mountaineers completely embarrassed the Gators 26-6.
It didn't end there for Luck. He graduated magna cum laude on time in 1982. He was named a first team Academic All-American. In a few months, he was a Rhodes Scholar finalist. The Houston Oilers drafted him as quarterback. Luck played a few years for the Oilers, squeezing a professional quarterback career between his time in law school at the University of Texas.
He's served as a chief executive officer for a Frankfurt team in the World League of American Football. Most recently, Oliver Luck was president and chief executive officer for Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo. As Luck presided over the Dynamo, the Houston franchise won the MLS Cup in 2006 and 2007.
That's what I'm getting to: Academics, football, soccer, Luck excels. Oliver Luck is a high performance individual who a) does things the right way the first time and b) is not accustomed to losing.
As Athletic Director at West Virginia University, Luck will respond to TCU or Boise State or any other major college football team who thinks the Big East is a primrose path to the Bowl Championship Series and the BCS National Championship game.
My guess is he's already looking at people who could take West Virginia football back to the days of just a few years ago when the Mountaineers were consistent 11 game winners and always in the BCS question.
That's how you stop TCU. You don't whine about them being in Texas, which is code for not wanting a fifth ranked team in the league. You simply line up and take their challenge head on.
So, bring it.