West Virginia Football: Death and Departure

Scott Pauley@scott.pauleyAnalyst IDecember 16, 2008

Dec. 16

Let us reminisce (cue the harp and blurry vision):

Two years ago, this day, I get a phone call from my sister, "Scott, the nurse says we should call any family members who would want to be here and have a long way to travel." Keep in mind I had moved about five hours away from my native Lincoln County, WV, to the beautiful Eastern Panhandle of WV.

"She said mom's not gonna make it." 

As I scurried to throw some clothes in a bag, call my fiancé, get the dogs ready, and fight off tears, I remembered that I was going to telephone my mother the night before—just to say hello—but I got busy and forgot. 

My mom and I kept in touch on a regular basis, but this time I felt I should call her for some reason.

The drive to Charleston was quite tense. Tears were shed and thoughts were raced. 

As I stepped out of the elevator onto the floor of the hospital, I saw approximately 25 family members—most of whom are members of the Church of Christ in Alum Creek, WV—where my mother worshiped and where I worshiped before my move. 

What a feeling to see so many folks who care enough to be so supportive. Keeping in mind, my mother was loved by all of these folks as well. Needless to say, they were hurting, too.

I sat down in the waiting room chair, not really knowing what to do or say. Someone spoke up and told me I should go into my mother’s room.  So I did. 

Watching my mom lie there gasping for air—through a ventilator—was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  The whole time I was just hoping that her eyes would open, she would smile and I could tell her I love her. 

The machine was turned off and I—along with my two sisters and a few other folks—watched as my mom took her last breath.  I held her hand the whole time. 

It was a terrible feeling. You see, my mom was only 57 years old and died of a stroke. 

FAST-FORWARD one year:

I'm surfing the web on my blackberry and see a "Breaking News" icon, "Rodriguez Headed to Michigan". My heart dropped. 

I could not believe it. He had done so much for WVU, he couldn't leave.

I recalled the scare I had gotten when we just about lost Coach Rod to Alabama. Therefore, I refused to believe the news. I searched the Web, tuned my radio to WV Metro News, and hurried to wvmetronews.com.

The news seemed to be true this time. There was no hoping, wishing, dreaming or turning back. It was true, Coach Rod was gone.

What do we do now? Who is going to coach the Fiesta Bowl? Can Coach Stew step up to the plate and get it done? Who will be the next Head Coach of the Mountaineers? I miss you already, Rod!!!!

Let's be honest. Few people liked Coach Rod when he took over the football program for West Virginia. However, after a year or so, we snuggled up to him and let him lead us into a new era of Mountaineer Football.

It took me a long time to get used to Coach Rod, but I began to enjoy his coaching and the atmosphere he brought along with it. He is a great coach and we have him.

Until, the anniversary of my mother's death.

A large and ugly battle would then ensue. Many people would do and say many things that they should not have. Folks would be dragged into the fiasco that should not have been. Lies would be told. Feelings would be hurt.

However, life would go on in Morgantown, WV and the Mountaineer Faithful would see to it that the football program would be just as important as it always had been.

Present day (ok, play the harp and do the blurry picture)

My mother was a very faithful Christian while on this earth. She is now with God—because of her dedication and commitment. Her life goes on. 

Each day of my life, I strive to live in a way that will allow me to spend eternity with my mother.

I say with a great deal of confidence that Coach Rod wishes he would have handled things a little better and not caused such a ruckus. He is a great coach; I wish him all the best.

However, He could have chosen a different day to smash the hearts of so many Mountaineers.

Both of these events hurt a great deal. 

Keep in mind my mother is in a much better place. 

Knowing that will help you understand which one hurt worse.

Let’s GOOOOOOO Mountaineeeeeers...LIFE GOES ON



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