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Holgorsen Embarrasses WVU, Entire State

May 28, 2011
By DOUG HUFF - Sports Columnist , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

DANA HOLGORSEN.

When first-year West Virginia University athletics director OLIVER LUCK announced plans for new leadership of the Mountaineers football program, he promised a different direction and change for the future.

Well, there has been ''change'' but it's not been in the right direction.

In fact, recent off-the-field actions by Holgorsen, next season's offensive coordinator who will take over the head coaching reins from BILL STEWART in 2012, have put the WVU football program in newspaper and website headlines across the country.

A page-wide headline in USA Today read ''Holgorsen's actions 'inappropriate,' West Virginia's Luck says.''

I received a telephone call from California after the person read about the incident in major West Coast papers.

The New York Times and several other major publications, along with ESPN.com plus other major websites told the world about Holgorsen being escorted by police from a Charleston-area casino about 3:20 a.m. on May 18.

No charges were filed and the highest-paid public employee in the state (he could earn as much as $14.275-million the next six years) returned to his hotel in a taxi.

Both Holgorsen and Luck issued brief statements and the coach said ''I will not put myself in that situation again.''

If it was an isolated incident, that statement might be easier to accept.

But what the coach didn't say was if that situation happened any other time.

According to witnesses, it did in Wheeling earlier this year.

He allegedly was asked to leave both a watering spot inside Oglebay Park and, later, at Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino and Racetrack.

Since no local police were called and no reports or charges made at either site, those alleged situations received little local attention.

But, as long as eyeballs are open, the truth will surface.

And that's a black-eye for West Virginia, in general, and the athletic department, in particular.

All of this negative publicity comes at a time when WVU is considering selling alcoholic drinks at home football games inside Puskar Stadium. A June 3 vote of the WVU Board of Governors will decide that outcome.

With many of WVU's past problems with alcohol-related issues at games well documented, and publicized, we've heard, via the grapevine, that a major national media outlet plans a documentary on the ''party school image'' of WVU if the Board OKs the sales' proposal.

The Board of Governors asked, through its website, for public input about the issue and by a 2-to-1 margin, the comments were opposed to alcohol sales.

If the WVU powers-that-be, including the president and athletics director plus the Board, ignore the wishes of the WVU partisans, it would be interesting to see how each of them would justify such a decision if quizzed.

Stay tuned.

OVAC MUSEUM.

Billed as the ''best kept secret in the Ohio Valley'' by at least one local sports enthusiast, the 6-year-old work-in-progress will be gaining some statewide exposure.

Next week, a television crew from WCHS in Charleston will be inside WesBanco Arena to tape highlights of the Museum for use in a regular series entitled ''Traveling West Virginia.''

Sports Director MARK MARTIN planned the trip after learning of the project.

The Museum continues to add new exhibits and currently features 35 former area high schools in addition to the 50 current members of the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference. The most recent displays for former schools feature Bethany High School, Sistersville and Flushing with West Liberty High and Scio High to be added in the next future. Also, a wall case featuring professional boxers from the area is on display.

The most recent new items include a 1943 Wheeling High School state basketball championship jacket owned by Wheeling's PLENNIE CLUTTER, who will be inducted this fall, as an official, into the OVAC Hall of Fame. Also new are 1992 U.S. Olympic Team shirt/shorts worn by East Liverpool's ARIC LONG, the NCAA Decathlon champion from the University of Tennessee.

With local sponsors the backbone of the project, the most recent support has come from the City of Wheeling and First Choice America credit union.

Enjoy the holiday weekend.

 
 

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