No More Rich Rodriguez in West Virginia—A Squandered Legacy

RG YohoCorrespondent IDecember 19, 2007

IconNow that the arrogant and disloyal Rich Rodriguez has chosen to take his playbook and go elsewhere, perhaps we should examine the events that led to his departure.

I have grown increasingly infuriated by those gullible fools who think Rodriguez was acting on some great and noble cause.

Come on! Wake up!

Let's not assign martyr status to a man who held an entire state hostage to his ever-growing list of demands.

If you gave him everything he said he wanted this week, then there would be something else next week. Rodriguez doesn't keep his word. He fails to honor a contract.

Moreover, Rich has revealed himself to be the kind of guy who is probably looking for loopholes in his marriage contract, as well.

I am certainly not naive. And I might have fallen off a turnip truck or two, but it wasn't yesterday.

I am sure the athletic department and administration must also share some of the blame in this whole sorry episode. However, any intelligent person should realize that, under any circumstances, Rodriquez's actions cannot possibly be justified. The man used the university's jet and taxpayer funds to facilitate his personal contract negotiations.

If Rodriguez wasn't satisfied with the progress that was being made on his contractual priorities, then I guarantee you that he could have phoned Milan Puskar or Earl Kendrick and presented his case to these affluent boosters. Then Mr. Puskar or Mr. Kendrick could have called the university President and Athletic Director and threaten to withhold any further donations.

Moreover, in his high-profile position, Rodriguez also has the ability to present his case to any major news source in the state—and his point of view would have made the six o'clock news on every West Virginia television set.
Either approach would have easily won Mr. Rodriguez the progress he really wanted on these priorities, or a legitimate time table of when they might be completed. Of course, that is how a real man would have done things!

Rich Rodriguez should never again be characterized as a man. Richie Rich is a petulant, little boy who throws a temper tantrum and demands that he get his way right now.

Never mind that West Virginia University wasn't actually founded as merely a football factory. Forget about the thousands of students attending that great institution whose first priority is not football, but actually getting an education.

Their needs should definitely take a backseat to Rich's back-alley bargaining!
Rich Rodriguez is a pathetic, deceitful individual with a head the size of Michigan! He didn't leave because of principle. He left because of money and a big ego that would only fit in the Big House! His departure was just another power play.

As a Mountaineer fan, it really pains me to realize that he didn't choose to employ this same level of play calling to the football game against Pitt. We might have gotten a first down if he had.

As a native of the state and the son of a coal miner, Rich Rodriguez knows what Mountaineer football means to West Virginia. He was born here. He grew up here. He played here.

He also knows the rampant poverty that still exists here. However, when he threatened to go to Alabama last season, several wealthy boosters and thousands of less-than-wealthy season ticket holders forked out extra money to make Rodriguez West Virginia's highest paid state employee.

For many of us, it was truly a financial sacrifice. However, those efforts made solely in Rich's behalf obviously did not win his gratitude or his allegiance. After so many gave so much, how could one man be so small?

When faced with this situation, the university's President and athletic department did what any responsible organization should have done: They refused to give in to his demands again. To come back a year later and hold the state and university hostage once again is unconscionable.

West Virginia football is bigger than any one man. It is much bigger than an individual coach or a few wealthy donors. The Mountaineers are the love, passion, and pride of an entire state.
Rodriguez didn't give birth to this program. He didn't carry it through the lean years. He didn't build the current stadium or restore the program to some national prominence.

Yes, Rodriguez was presented with a solid program and lifted it to another level. Clearly he deserves some accolades for his achievements and some significant financial rewards to accompany them. Those he has already received.

However, despite his numerous gridiron successes, Rodriguez grandly failed to deliver on the National Championship he so boldly promised.
To put it simply: Rich Rodriguez went to Michigan because he wanted to leave! There is absolutely nothing more to the story than that.
In the history of Mountaineer football, it is doubtful than any one man ever enjoyed more trust, realized a greater level of respect, or commanded a more devoted following than West Virginia's Coach Rod. Yet nobody in the history of Mountaineer football has ever done more to squander a once-proud legacy than the son of a poor coal miner, who arrogantly thinks he has grown too big for his state!