It’s been said that you may not be married for life, but you are divorced for life, meaning that people once bound together will always have some commonality, even if they go their separate ways.

And so it goes with WVU, the state of West Virginia and Rich Rodriguez.

The native son and once-beloved Mountaineer coach has talked at length to Seth Davis with Campusinsiders.com about his caustic departure from WVU in 2007 to become head coach of Michigan. Click here to watch the video. 

Rodriguez, who is in his second year as the head coach of Arizona after being fired at Michigan, says he wishes he had handled his exit from Morgantown differently.

“If I could do one thing over again I would have a press conference at West Virginia,” Rodriguez said.  “I was kind of told (by Michigan) not to do that, to move on, but I owed that to West Virginia and I think it would have cleared a lot of things up.”

Yes, that would have helped.  Many Mountaineer fans would still have been angry, but at least it would not have appeared as though Rodriguez was sneaking out of town while his team prepared for the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma.

However, there remains a dichotomy between Rodriguez and WVU over the events that contributed to his decision to leave.

“I still wasn’t going to take the job if I thought the administration at the time at West Virginia had the same vision that I did as far as growing the program,” Rodriguez said.  “I wanted to keep growing it… I wasn’t convinced in my talks with them (the administration) that they wanted to keep doing that.”

In fact, Rodriguez says his perception was that he was being pushed out the door. That may be how the coach felt, but that was clearly not the intent of then-WVU President Mike Garrison and then-Athletic Director Ed Pastilong.

Depositions taken in the legal battle over Rodriguez’ buyout (Rodriguez and Michigan ended up paying $4 million to WVU) show University leaders accommodated Rodriguez, except when they believed his requests could violate NCAA rules or remove institutional oversight from the program.

Ultimately, the division between Rodriguez and the University was about control; the coach wanted more than WVU was willing to give.  It’s unfortunate that the dispute devolved into a painful breakup, but the college athletics landscape is populated by examples of what can happen when college and university leaders cede too much authority to coaches.

WVU did the right thing in 2007 by not allowing Rodriguez to have his way.

Still, it’s peculiar, even after six years, to see Rich Rod wearing anything other than the Gold and Blue.  Once he was right where he should have been, coaching the Mountaineers to great success.

That counts for something.

Even divorced couples sometimes find a way to get along. You can’t pretend as though there was no shared history.  And sometimes, after an appropriate amount of time has passed, they can even be on friendly terms again.

 

 

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Comments

  • Benthere

    Carmen, you must know some or all of this story. it's amazing how the other side of this has never been told. But, people have to do business and live in the state after it's all said done. Better to keep your mouth shut and just move on. It really has little to do with football or basketball but WV politics at its worst. If people look at the players involved during this time period and ALL the events that we're taking place at the University you can connect the dots. One day the story will come out why both men left under bad terms.

  • Freddy

    we need rich rod!

  • Tom

    Right now, I would take anyone over Holgerson.

  • Lo boy

    Dana is an embarrassment to WV. His sideline antics and attire have a lot to be desired. Come on Oliver, time to admit this was a mistake and move on!!!!!

  • Lo boy

    Come home Rich, WVU needs you!!!!!!

  • Shadow

    Does anyone remember that RR's antagonist resigned shortly thereafter because of his involvement of the Degree Scandal? A really straight up guy?

  • Jeff

    Doc Holliday, please come home!!!!!

  • Mike

    Love him or hate him, RR had the fan base more excited about the program than anyone in the 40+ years that I have followed WVU football. The stands were never a sea of gold until RR was here. A messy exit causes many WVU fans to harbor ill feelings toward the man but we can't deny what he brought to the program.

  • stephen

    the rich rods and danas are everything this is wrong with college football. it has become a "cash cow" for unversities who sale their souls to the next great young coach, who might stick around for 3 to 5 years at the most if they have any form of success. personally I don't think I would want my son to play for a foul mouth hot head, who cares nothing about the players they coach, only how much money they can make. the days of the Nehlens and Pruetts are gone. rich rod went to Arizona because he throught the cheerleaders would be hotter then the desert. as for hogs, do you ever see him coach? no, the only time you can't read a cuss word coming out of his mouth is when he is chugging Red Bull. they are both the same, and the reason I don't watch college football much anymore...

  • Justin

    rich rod lies

  • annebeth66

    I will never forgive RichRod for throwing the WVU/Pitt game so that he could slink out of town, like the rat he is, to take the job at Michigan. If this was all about upgraded facilities, what greater leverage could you have than a national championship? If they had won the championship he could have asked for the sky and received it. He had not a care or concern about the team and the young men who looked up to him. To think that he would do this to his alma mater, shows that he is a man of no honor, who will be swayed by a dollar, each and every time. So Michigan wanted him so bad and they ended up with their worst seasons ever. I bet they wished they had kept their coach Lloyd Carr.

    • bd

      You are an idiot. Of course if MICHIGAN knocks on a west virginia coaches door with a big paycheck and promise of championships in the BIG HOUSE ... OF COURSE that WV coach is gonna be side tracked and a little confused while coaching that next game against pittsburgh.
      Everything is not black and white. Life is mostly gray. So stop with the good or evil bullcrap

  • thornton

    Rich Rod...who?

    Oh, that fella that mentally bailed and emotionally left his team before he slunk out of state....dragging WVa, the team, the school, et al thru the dirt as he went.

    Sure, bring him back. Probably some drawers he missed rifling thru when he headed north. Reckon Michigan was wise enough to check his pockets and car trunk when they booted him out? I'd lay some soft money saying they did.

  • WVU MOM

    I can't believe people seem to have forgotten the deliberately, badly coached Pitt game. How he sacrifieced a national championship for a 'better' school. The rumors about misconduct with cheerleaders....

  • cutty77

    @Hoppy,
    You and WVRC are another reason Rich Rod left. Let me refresh your memory Hoppy. The friday night before the last Game to play Rutgers for The Big East Tiltle to go to a BCS Bowl game. Your Beloved Radio Station Had Greg Report that Rich Rod was going to Bama. It was Senior night at Lakeview. Rita had to call Rich to tell him what your Fair and Balanced Radio Station had reported. WVRC and Mike Parsons set the whole event up,and Greg was The House Mouse. I know the whole story. I even Know Mike Parsons was out of town,so he could not of done something like this out of town.hahahaha. By the way what is Mike Parsons doing now,anybody know his new title. Its a Flag Flying in The Wind. lol

  • John Q

    People really still care?

    I don't.