Over the past few weeks, West Virginia University has been locked in the middle of a massive power struggle.
Since the last whistle of the Pitt game, turmoil has been the modus operandi at every level of WVU, from the Governor to the President down to the athletic department and the coaches — not to mention the boosters. It would be easy to say nothing has gone to plan, but that would be to assume there was only one plan.
In fact, with each participant trying to advance his own agenda, we have seen this coaching search pulled in many different directions. When we have been close to reaching a logical conclusion, one side exerts just enough power to derail the proceedings. As things stand now, this looks to continue indefinitely.
Here is a quick run-down of the participants:
Governor Joe Manchin: He has been at the center of most of the events in this coaching search. Any statements by his office to the contrary are at best misleading and at worst simply false. The Governor was right in the middle of both the efforts to hire Jimbo Fisher as well as the efforts to thwart the hiring of Doc Holliday. He has stepped into the power vaccuum at the highest levels of WVU. Which brings us to…
President Mike Garrison: Garrison becoming President was a clearly political hire by Manchin. Garrison has been a good foot-soldier for the Governor and was rewarded with the Presidency at a very young age (he’s 39). Unfortunately, with the circumstances surrounding his election (by the BOG) and his age, Garrison has very little political capital left. He, this early into his reign, can exert very little power in situations like this coaching search. Manchin has stepped right into that opportunity and conducted this coaching search as if he were President.
Athletic Director Ed Pastilong (and Mike Parsons): Pastilong has bungled this coaching search from the start, putting his own objectives above the University’s. Pastilong spearheaded the almost-hiring of Doc Holliday, only to be overruled by both Manchin and some of the highest donors. Pastilong then completely destroyed the slam dunk hiring of Jimbo Fisher late last night. It is obvious that both Pastilong and Parsons are attempting to wrestle control back into the AD’s office. As reported before, the low-ball offers to both Rodriguez and Fisher are clear examples of this.
The donors: This is not one single group. Factions of donors loyal to Pastilong (think: Puskar) and Rodriguez (think: Reynolds/Kendrick) have pulled and pushed this hiring in many different directions. To move forward and accept any coaching hire, there must be some consensus between our largest contributors. Of course, when there is zero consensus in the administration, this is highly unlikely.
Basically, what we have here is a giant clusterfuck. There is no such thing as a compromise choice at this point. What will end up happening is either 1) one party absorbs enough power to overrun the others; or 2) this search ends in nuclear holocaust. Right now, it’s even money.