Memo to Rich Rodriguez: Make a Choice, Coach

RG YohoCorrespondent IDecember 15, 2007

IconLike a lot of West Virginia fans, I'm greatly concerned about the coaching situation in Morgantown.

Coach Rich Rodriguez's statements about the Michigan job (or lack of them) certainly don't contradict any of the statements he's made in the past—he's told us before that he would hear other offers, and didn't care to talk about them.

I understand that position, and at one level, I respect it. That said, I'm more than a little disgusted with Rodriguez's arrogance in handling the situation with the press.

Richie is supposed to be a "big boy" now—so he must know something about the media.

"It may be disappointing to you, but I'm not going to talk about any rumors or innuendoes or jobs or whatever else is floating out there," Rodriguez told reporters. "I'm not talking about anything other than this year's team, this season, and this year's bowl preparations."

When pressed, Rodriguez told reporters, "You all have not understood what I just said. One more question and unfortunately this conference will end."

Get serious, Rich.

This is not a story because the media made it a story. This is not a story because the people of West Virginia made it a story. This is a story because Rich Rodriguez chose to make it a story.

Moreover, it's a story that could be ended with two simple words:

"I'm staying."

When he signed his contract last year, Rodriguez said he wanted to be the coach at West Virginia as long they wanted him on board. Well, I've missed only one game in Morgantown this year, and I've yet to see any fans holding signs calling for Rich's dismissal.

During coach Don Nehlen's final years, someone flew a banner over the stadium that implied a need for his removal or replacement. Nothing like that has happened to Coach Rod.

Sure, maybe there was an occasional "boo" hurled his way over some questionable or conservative playcalling, but it wasn't completely unwarranted.

As I recall, when my season ticket order came in the mail, I had to pony up extra money to keep the coach in Morgantown. Although it was something of a hardship, I realized that such was the price of success—and I was grudgingly willing to pay it.

That financial sacrifice ought to entitle every Mountaineer fan to express his approval or displeasure at the games in the way he sees fit.

And if Rodriguez insists on making these employment questions a yearly occurrence, the booing from the fans is going to get worse, not better.

I certainly don't know what's going on here—and the one guy who does isn't talking.

In fact, he's becoming outright belligerent with those whose jobs require them to get the information to a public who definitely has the right to know.

I'm trying to do the right thing by keeping my powder dry and waiting for Rich to give us a definite answer. But my patience is wearing mighty thin.

The fans at West Virginia University certainly deserve better than what they're getting. They were good enough not to call for Rich's head when he went 3-8 in his first season—even after Coach Nehlen had led the squad to a rare bowl victory the previous year.

Compare that to the vehement reaction Steve Kragthorpe got from Louisville fans during a tumultuous first year.

The Mountaineer faithful were hopeful and patient, and more than willing to give Rich the benefit of the doubt. That loyalty should be returned.

And this isn't how you do it.

Rodriguez is a fool if he thinks a 3-8 season for the Maize and Blue would be met with the same patience he found in the Old Gold and Blue. Moreover, an upset loss to his arch rival in Ann Arbor would leave Michigan fans calling for his scalp—and I can only imagine what the reaction would be if he went into the game a 28-point favorite with a BCS Championship Game berth on the line.

Booing would be the least of his worries!

I believe the West Virginia Mountaineers are standing on the precipice of greatness. I believe a long-awaited National Championship is just around the corner. I believe we're just a couple of recruits short of winning it all.

All of that could change with Rich Rodriguez's decision.

The time for games is over, Rich. A state awaits your answer.

If we wanted this behavior on an annual basis, we could go out and hire Bobby Petrino.

If you choose to leave, do it soon. Pack your bags and follow that other ex-WVU vagabond. Let us finally get a coach who loves the people and the state—and whose loyalty doesn't waver.

But if you choose to go, then take your money and run. And don't let the door hit you on the way out.

We can certainly understand your choice of Michigan, because you and John "Bawl-ein" deserve each other!