Stage 7: Acceptance and Hope

Just like our new President-elect, we’re going to focus on the “hope” part.

During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.

So who is going to help us find our way forward?  Glad you asked.  Here are my top candidates for the (proposed) coaching position at West Virginia University:

Brady Hoke — HC, Ball State

Hoke has resurrected a Ball State program that was a laughing stock of college football for an entire decade.  With a 12-0 campaign in 2008, he would bring instant credibility to the position.  He has mentored quarterback phenom Nate Davis into one of the top 5 quarterbacks in the NFL Draft (as a junior).

Before serving as Ball State’s head coach, he was the associate head coach at — gasp! — Michigan, so he has some executive experience outside of this latest stop.  He’s also a Ball State alum, meaning there isn’t a chance he would jump to his alma mater once at WVU.  Has been mentioned as a candidate at Washington State, Michigan, Tennessee, and Clemson, but has yet to get the call to the big-time (not that Washington State is big-time).

Hoke’s offensive prowess and success with QB Davis would likely keep recruits coming to Morgantown.  With the likes of Smith, Heastie, and Long, Hoke would have a good cupboard of talent waiting for him.  And, considering his tenure at Ball State, I feel confident he’d know how to use it.

Turner Gill — HC, Buffalo

Among rebuilding jobs, Gill’s effort at Buffalo is probably on second to Hoke’s at Ball State, yet Gill is a few years behind Hoke.  Gill has taken Buffalo to the MAC Championship Game in just his third season, compiling a 7-5 record at a school known for double digit losses, not bowl games.

Like Hoke, Gill would lend instant credibility, both with his coaching abilities and his race.  With the BCA protests and WVU’s own poor hiring record, Gill would allow West Virginia a new angle with recruits across the country.  While I would never advocate hiring Gill based solely on race, his coaching record seems to make his race simply a bonus.

Gill, famously, is a Nebraska graduate and Texas native.  He may be an attractive hire for a team in the Big 12 someday, but that should be seen as a secondary concern.  If he can win here enough to attract interest from a major Big 12 team, that’s a risk I am willing to take.

Butch Jones — HC, Central Michigan

Jones’s name was bandied about quite a bit during the 2007 coaching search, with even a report surfacing that he had been offered the job.  At the time, Jones looked like a tough hire, considering his close ties to Rich Rodriguez.  Now, one year removed from the Rodriguez soap opera, Jones looks like a much more viable candidate.  He even had another good year at Central Michigan, adding further to his resume.

Jones is a Ferris State graduate, so like Hoke, his alma mater shouldn’t play any part in a decision to leave.


Are any of these coaches the sure-fire savior of Mountaineer football? No, of course not. But each are established head coaches with resumes of winning and credibility in recruiting. All three would provide a ceiling for winning at WVU that Stewart simply can’t provide. And each probably know how to work a headset, something our current coach can’t quite master.


31 Responses

  1. While not an advocate of firing stewart now, i think Bud Foster’s name has to be on every list.

  2. The thing is, if Stew goes, does Doc go with him?

  3. I would definitely put Bud Foster on the FOLLOWING list: Overrated coaching candidate

  4. Does anyone have any idea if Stew will actually leave? Not to rain on steps 6 & 7 here, but is there any actual evidence that we aren’t stuck with him for the foreseeable future?

  5. Face it guys, we’re stuck with HCBS for at least another season. Why? (1) He’s not going to step down. And (2) He won’t be fired by an interim president and an athletic director that will be retiring in a little over a year (2010).

  6. I agree with Columbus on Foster being an overrated coaching candidate. If we are going to hire any D coordinator it should be Casteel.

  7. Doc Holliday isn’t change, he’s more of the same!

    Honestly, do we want to go from one career assistant to the next.

    When hirinig a HC you either hire an established proven winner (Nick Saban, Rich Rodriguez, Urban Meyer, Steve Spurrier, Mack Brown) typically done by richer programs, a up and coming head coach from a smaller conference (Paul Johnson, Butch Jones, Brian Kelley, Chris Peterson) or a young coordinator with a track record of success and a marketbale system (Will Muschamp, Chip Kelley, Dan Mullen).

    The established head coach will probably not happen here for lack of money and lack of the administration viewing us capable of such a hire.

    The non-BCS conference head coach is a possiblity but always worries me because many schools hire the “hot” coach of the moment, but short term success at a small school does not equal success at a large school. (Dan Hawkins, Steve Kragthorpe).

    The dynamic coordinator is something I’ve always liked as long as the coordinator has a system unique to himself. Guys like Rich Rod and Mike Leach are successful. Guys like Sly Croom and Greg Robinson are not.

    Of course there are always excpetions – bland coordinators that are successfull (Pete Carroll, Bob Stoops), small school coaches that are successful (Jim Tressel, Urban Meyer – who also has a unique system.) And big time hires that fail (Steve Spurrier).

    What scares me in my sleep is how fleeting greateness is. A guy like Jeff Tedford is a really good coach, and Cal is always tough, but they’re not a consistent top 10 team. Anything less than 11 wins now is dissapointing.

    So who do I think if a good hire?

    Chip Kelley would be my favorite – HC experience and dynamic system
    Dan Mullen – OC at Florida. His offense make me tingle.
    Butch Jones – HC and dynamic system.
    Todd Graham – wildly successful HC so far

  8. It’s all about Hope and Change…maybe. We will take our gaudy 7-5 (or dare we hope 8-4) record to some below-the-radar bowl. If we win, the administration will deem the year a success and HCBS will be granted a longer rope. Nothing like lowering the bar of expectation to increase the self-esteem. Not so sure what happens if we lose,,, perhaps change.

  9. He said he would go on his own if he didnt get it done and since he relishes on the idea that he is a man of his word then by golly gosh darnit, he should honor those words.

  10. Wow, just wow. Way out of control today. Your best choice is Hoke? He caught lighting in a bottle with Nate Davis. Ball State is 6-6 without Davis and will return to a MAC bottom feeder when he goes pro.None of those 3 are getting you a 12-0 season next year. All three could have a great team two years from now, but yo’re not looking for that. At least try for a big time coach if you’re going to meltdown like this and want instant success.

  11. Also, add Jeff Casteel to the list.

    If only Mike Garrison and Joe Manchin could have kept their hands to themself, we might not be in this mess.

    I agree with POTUS that Stew isn’t going anywhere, and honestly I would give him another year, not because he deserves it but because I think firing him now might cause more problems than it fixes, but anything less than 9 wins next year and he’s gone.

  12. I was screaming for Butch Jones before the Stewart hire … so I will stick with him.

    But Stewart WILL get a second year … and BOTH Jones and Gill will still be available then.

    Be patient … and hope for the best next year.


  13. First of all, I’ve heard many pin the problems of WVU’s offense on lack of fullback. Obviously a problem but WAYYYYYYY to “over-emphasized” in attributing to failures of this team.

    Think about this: How many successful head coaches are there in ANY sport, who have mundane, rehearsed “glass-half full” responses to questions at pressers???

    Also, ANY of the above coaches named would be a better candidate than Bill Stewart. Again, there was a reason he wasn’t even a candidate prior to the Fiesta Bowl (a scrimmage game compared to the MORE important regular season)….Oklahoma had EVERYTHING to lose in that game and WVU was at the bottom of the barrel after the most devastating loss in history and Rod situation………..He was never considered a viable coaching option for a reason. At least hiring one of the above options gives you a HC who has at least had SOME success as the front man…..It sucks that this didn’t happen a year before when Jimbo Fisher would have been available and prior to him being the HC at Flordia State…..This Urban Meyer-type personality would have been infectious w/ recruits and fans, he is native of Clarksburg, and he has been a winner at all of his stops in coaching career (QB coach Auburn ’93, OC at Cincy w/ Mike Tomlin as D-coordinator in ’00, OC at LSU under Nicky Saban)

  14. Columbus – sometimes you’re hard to agree with, but I have to say I agree with that last post. Jimbo was the man we needed for this job.

  15. Columbus, couldnt one say that FSU’s offenses have been less than dynamic the last couple of years?

  16. chuckzub-yes you could say that and I would also attribute that to deterioration of their recruiting classes prior to Fisher’s arrival (they had a 2-3 year stint, when Rix was QB, where they just weren’t any good)….Before that though, and even beginning this season, solid offensive system in place and FSU will return to national prominence in next 2 years.

    WVUD-I do disagree w/ one of your points. Sometimes I’m hard to agree with…..I should never be TOO hard to agree w/ because I’m usually correct 🙂

  17. FSU is starting 3 true freshman on the offensive line and 2 sophomores and has a the 25th ranked scoring offense to WVU’s 69th. Jeff Bowden left that offense in trouble. Jimbo’s two years there have not been as productive as I thought they would be, but Jimbo coached a national champion offense and a #1 draft pick and I think will eventually be very successful at FSU.

  18. 25314,

    Agree 100% on Dan Mullen. Last year, he would have been a fantastic candidate. This year? I think we would need to bring in a seasoned head coach from that middle tier. It gives us the shortest turn around.


    As for Hoke: yes, Nate Davis is a great player. But Brady Hoke recruited him and landed him. Doesn’t he get credit for that, just the same as Rodriguez gets credit for the years with Pat White? Hell, what is Florida without Tebow? Give credit where credit is due.

  19. I have a man crush on Columbus, I love going back to his “hypothetical” post with Old Gold&Blue, I think I have it almost figured out. If Bill Stewart wore women’s clothing and was married to Jeff Mullen then they would both be allowed to get married in Connecticut if Rich Rodriguez performed the ceremony, correct?

  20. What in God’s name am I even talking about? I am so punch drunk from all this losing that I can’t even put together an intelligent post.

    I do want to beat this South Florida like a drum though, all I remember when I made the trip to Tampa last year were thousands of drunk fans in bull horns screaming in my face, Matt Grothe and his homosexual brethren must pay dearly. Trust me, Pat White isn’t walking off Mountaineer Field for the last time with a loss.

    And Rouff, make a 3 for cunt’s sake.(Ahh, see, I do have an intelligent post left in me.)

  21. Awww, better luck next year hoopies (not really). Oh wait, that’s right, when patty boy walks out the door, he’ll take your entire football program with him. At least you stupid inbreds have basketball…oh, sorry. Can’t wait to wipe the floor with you Mountianqueers on the hard court in bball. Sorry if all this capitalization and puncuation is a little confusing for you hoopies. GO HOME MOUNTIANQUEERS!

  22. Don’t ge tme wrong, I hate to lose more than anyone I know. But I have to accept that even the first season we had with Rod wasn’t looking bright either. I don’t want us to lose, but I know it takes a while to get the coach and the team on the same track… as well as the other ass. coaches. (We also didn’t have as much strength in the program this year as we did last year. We lost alot of the heart of the team… alot of the desire.) After HCBS has about 3 seasons and it’s still lookin like this… out the door.

  23. With all this testosterone flying around, I think it might be a good time to interject a little estrogen. In spite of all the adversity that our team has faced with Rich Rod, HCBS, JM, etc. etc., as an old-timer WVU has seen worse, much worse. But the legions of true Mountaineer fans did not give up on their team and the annual trek up I-79 will repeat itself again next fall. We WILL prevail (sooner or later) . . . you betcha.

  24. Our failures this year have to be put largely on the offensive line, whether it be scheme or players, it was right there. How many times did we lose the battle there? Go back and look at how many run plays got stuffed for no gain this year….alot. Check the ECU game for the worst one, in my opinion. Even though playcalling sucked most of this year, if you blocked the defender, the play should work. Then you can make a case for not having a fullback. It goes on and on…..Ahhhhh……I’m done.

  25. I love the Dan Mullen assertion too. I was watching UF’s game last week and remember remarking to my dad that we definitely got the wrong Mullen on the coaching staff.

  26. I wouldn’t put it past Stewart to think he was hiring Dan Mullen and accidentally end up with Jeff. Actually, it makes a lot more sense that way.

  27. Sorry, but I had to respond to the numbnuts Pitt fan who, in an effort to depict us as inbred and uneducated, repeatedly misspells “mountain” while attempting, vainly, to call us mountainqueers. Nice try, Shittsburgh.

  28. No coach, including Rod and Stew, can be judged on one season alone. What are we, Michigan fans (see This all boils down to the fact that our expectations were just too high coming into the season, and that was precisely because we hired from within. Had we hired any of the names mentioned here, I am sure the season would have been just as rocky, but the majority of our naysaying fans would have been more accepting of it because of a ready-made new-coaches, new system excuse. Stewart doesn’t get such a break because he was already here. Bullshit.

    There is no way to know, but I would bet that had Rich had this team, we would still have two or three losses, they just wouldn’t have come vs. Colorado or Cincy. They would have come against Louisville, Pitt, and South Florida. And I might add, that any new coach coming in would have fired Jeff Casteel in lieu of someone else that very likely could not have worked the wonders that Casteel has this year.

    Reading these comments really pisses me off. They remind me of all the people that constantly berated Nehlen in his last few seasons. Every coach deserves an entire recruiting cycle, and I hope Stewart gets his. Firing him after one or two seasons will do nothing but damage to the whole program, and I feel certain would put us on the road to a Syracuse-like decline rather than moving us back toward the upper echelon.

  29. Someone finally agrees with me.

  30. I’ve agreed with ya 5th from the get go (not to sound like a lost puppy, mind you)

  31. But the fact remains, Stew WAS hired from within. And he was hired from within for the sole purpose of not missing a beat. And we HAVE missed a beat. He was not hired because he has some innovative system or because he is a proven winner. He was hired because he was supposed to keep the ball rolling and maintain the status quo of what had become an elite program. By implementing offensive change and taking an early step backward (hopefully before taking a step forward), he did not fulfill his end of the bargain.

    I do not neccessarily agree that Rod would have lost two or three games this year, but even if he had, that is better than 4 losses with 2 games remaining. But the number of losses is not nearly as frustrating as the overall product on the field. The let-down started week 1 versus Villanova when our offensive line did not move the line of scrimmage and we lacked the explosive play making that should have existed against a I-AA school.

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