Stage 6: Reconstruction and Working Through

As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.

OK, so Mountaineer football is effectively dead, right?

Well, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s certainly on life support.  Action needs to be taken now if we want to salvage the foundation of greatness that was in place a year ago.  To some, these required actions might seem overly drastic.  But to many, like myself, they appear to be our only option.  So, what are those actions.

Step #1: Fire Bill Stewart.

It has to be done.  Whatever buyout is to be paid to Stewart is worth the cost when considered against the further cost of this program’s deterioration.

Ultimately, Jeff Mullen was Bill Stewart’s mistake.  And it was a collosal mistake.  Stewart, effectively a first-time head coach (no, VMI doesn’t count), hired a first-time coordinator will zero history of calling plays at any level.  As if we couldn’t see it coming, disaster resulted.  Mullen’s hiring was the exact opposite of what should have happened: hiring an experienced coordinator that could make up for any experience his head coach might lack.  Instead, we got Mullen and offensive chaos.  Even beyond Mullen, Stewart has shown a complete lack of competence in other facets of the game.

Try, for example, timeouts, which Stewart has shown to have no concept of their use.  Mind-boggling clock management has squandered many chances this season.  This was especially evident in the premature use of all three timeouts against Pitt.  Saving the first tiemout until after second down would have allowed us not to waste them before a Pitt first down.  This didn’t happen, and we were forced to hurry down the field once back on offense.

Then, there’s the team’s failure on kickoff coverage, of which Stewart serves as his own coordinator.  With one of the strongest-legged kickers in the country, we have continually failed to even adequately cover kickoffs, ranking dead-last at times this season.  This is completely unacceptable.  Our head coach, who is failing as a the head man of our program, is also failing at his very own specialty.  Tell me another supposedly big-time program that would allow this to happen.

When he took over, Coach Stewart was honest and upfront with his expectations as head coach.

Our goals are to win the BIG EAST championship every year. We want to be the premier team in the league. We want to be a team of national stature, but we’re going to do it the right way with great student-athletes that buy into the plan. We want great husbands, great dads, great men of society and great men of faith. If all that ties into that winning, that means we’ve had a great program.
I’m going to be judged on the wins. I know that. What I do with these young men’s lives, I’m being judged by the master coach. And that’s where I lay down every night and sleep very well. If that ever changes than I need to get out of it. Winning is very important, it’s our life blood. Doing it the right way, all the time, and being an example.

Unfortunately, Bill, but even being judged well by the master coach doesn’t win football games.  In this job, you are being judged by wins and wins alone.  While I obviously like having men of great character in my school and on my team, I also want to win.  Winning allows us so many more opportunities than losing with men of character.  Winning allows us the chance to recruit men of character that are also great athletes, rather than just one or the other.  But we need to win, and you can’t help us do that.

So it is time to end the Bill Stewart era before it ravages even more of the program.

Step #2: Hasten Ed Pastilong’s Retirement.

Pastilong’s decision to hire Stewart in the middle of the night after an emotional bowl win will be judged by time to be the most ill-advised, knee-jerk, reactionary mistakes in Mountaineer history.  Instead of continuing to be deliberate with the process, Pastilong flushed an entire coaching search down the toilet.  Why even go through with the search?  Hell, why not just wait and see if Stewart won the game.  If he did, hire him.  If not, start the search.  Makes sense, right?  I certainly hope not — but it probably does in Pastilong’s mind.

Pastilong has done some things very right in his tenure as AD.  Hiring Rodriguez and Huggins certainly rank towards the top of the list.  But he has also shown a continued record of short-sided thinking.  The hiring of Stewart is perfect case-in-point.  Instead of hiring a younger coach with potential, Pastilong chose loyalty over reason and hired Stewart, a life-long assistant not regarded as a head coaching prospect on any level.  And that decision has cost us dearly.

Instead of this terribly long transition period, get Pastilong out of office now.  Bringing in a new athletic director immediately will allow a new coach to be chosen with his input.  Without a new AD, we are facing this coaching decision with an interim president and an outgoing AD, who incidentally got us in this mess to begin with.  While I don’t have any concrete candidates, Whit Babcock, Oliver Luck, and even Jerry West immediately spring to mind.  Someone with familiarity of our program would allow this coaching search to hit the ground running.  With Pastilong, we face another bungled coaching hire waiting for us at the end of the tunnel.  I would prefer sunlight instead.

Step #3: Hire a new coach.

Someone with unlimited upside, not necessarily confined by ties to the University.  Someone young that can take us to the heights that Rodriguez achieve.  Someone to bring hope to Mountaineer nation.  Someone to get us through Step 7 of grief.

But who?

To be continued later today…

12 Responses

  1. I still think Butch Jones would have been a decent hire. Especially now looking back after this freefall of a season.

  2. Below is from HCBS’s Sunday Teleconference. After reading I want to scream as loud as I can, WTF!!!! He just doesn’t get it. All of these people played so well, then why the hell didn’t we win?

    As I said on Friday, It was a tough football game to lose. I am very proud of our young men’s efforts. These guys played very hard on both sides of the ball, and it was a good football game. We just came up on the short end, and we hate that, but there were many bright spots that came out of that football game.

    Brandon Hogan continued to play well on defense, and Chris Neild came back off of that foot injury and had a banner day. He and Hogan really played well.

    On offense, we had a couple of linemen play well. Ryan Stanchek and Greg Isdaner both played their best games and that was nice to see.

    On special teams, I thought Pat McAfee did a great job punting. I understand that he is up to No. 6 in the country now, and I thought our snapper Adam Hughes did a tremendous job as well.

    Our punt coverage was absolutely outstanding. It was great to see, and our kickoff coverage continues to improve so I was really glad to see that as well.

    Time of possession still frustrated me, especially against a team like the University of Pittsburgh, you have to keep the ball from them. They kept it 31 minutes, and we had it 29 minutes. Then, I thought we pass blocked well, I thought we threw some good balls. Patrick (White) made some nice reads and threw some really nice balls.

    I thought that (Bradley) Starks caught it well, Alric (Arnett) caught it well and Jock (Sanders) and Noel (Devine), they finished. We dropped a couple that we shouldn’t have but that happens in football; we hate it but it does. A couple big drops came back to haunt us, but I thought we did ok there.

    Defensively, again as I said, I thought Hogan and Neild played well. Mortty Ivy played hard. It’s good to see Mortty out there banging around.

  3. Would you rather he said our players did not execute and it was all their fault?? Would you rather he blame everything on them and take no blame?

    We got pretty pissed when Fraud would blame our guys.

  4. He doesn’t have to blame the players. But this continued praise of players who are losing games is getting old. You can’t keep going with the rah-rah positivity when we’re losing. Something has to be wrong — he just doesn’t want to admit it.

  5. December 1, 2007, we headed to the stadium with mardi gras beads in preparation for 3 hours of celebration, while watching our top ranked Mountaineers reach the national championship game. December 1, 2008, we move through the 7 stages of grief because our program has collapsed.

  6. So are we taking out our pent up agression from Fraud’s failure and exit out on HCBS?

    hmmm

  7. He doesn’t say whats wrong because he does not know, and doesn’t know how to fix it.

    Time of possession – here’s a thought Bill, maybe it’s so low every game because we go 3 and out everytime we touch the ball.

    MacAee is a great punter who has punted more this year than the rest of his career combined.

    According to Stew, our line, recievers, qb, and running backs played well, yet we only scored 15? huh?

    College is an offensive game. You have to score 30-40 to win and 40-50 to be great. Our coach thinks it is the 1970’s, and tries to score 20 and win field position.

  8. It goes higher than HCBS. ..as Charley has so eloquently pointed out.

  9. The TRUTH: This Charley West cat HIT IT RIGHT ON THE HEAD! I couldn’t agree more w/ EVERY SINGLE POINT that he clearly and eloquently stated in his post, and I would be willing to bet my house that AT LEAST 65 to 70% of WVU fans COMPLETELY, not just partially, agree w/ Charley’s points. And yes, I understand what a HUGE number of people that would be. Most people, even West Virginians who have a history of having a very fatalistic way of looking at things, will always return to reason and logic even when discussing emotional issues such as supporting the flagship football program of a proud state. And that post is the epitome of reason and logic….Well Done!!

  10. Is there a budding romance between Columbus and Charley??

  11. That response coupled w/o additional retort indicates clear submission by 5th year senior. Could HE even be on the edge of the Stewart/Pastilong bandwagon?

  12. Pastilong should be long gone, HCBS not so much. I was trying to give everyone a good chuckle on this Black Monday.

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