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 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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  • Carmen

    This all is kind of like the LBJ Papers, someday the box will be unlocked and all can see what happened with RR and Beilein.
    Is there a reason Metro News will not tell the stories of Puskar, Pastilong and Manchin?

    • eyeIZ

      Beilein just left for greener pastures.
      RichRod was pushed out the door.

  • David

    I hate that guy but I would take him back in a heartbeat.

  • derek

    This is like saying we aught to be in the ACC or Big Ten. They don't want us. Get behind Holgs. This is a rebuilding yr we didn't always win with Don Nehlen but he did give us two NC shots and some big wins. All I can say is Holgs recruit us some great QBs.

  • wvman75

    I don't want to see Rodriguez back, but I don't wish him any ill, either. What's done is done.

    • Hop'sHip

      I agree, at least for the foreseeable future. I know I have got to the point that I no longer watch games involving his teams, rooting against him. He seems to have matured some. I see the same happening with Holgs.Nothing like adversity to build some character!

  • Jim N Charleston


    If Rich "could do 1 thing over again", I would hope it would be nix the hair plugs. He looks like a ridiculous used car salesman. He lies like one too. No offense meant to slimey used car salesman.

    As for his latest blame/excuse, don't care, didn't listen. Like your daily rant, the headline is all I need to/will ever read.

    All I got

  • TD

    The TEA Party is the enemy within. A 1% increase in interest rates on the national debt cost us $120 billion a year, for what???? Do people who support these radicals understand the reality??? Maybe when your mortgage, interest on your credit card and car payments go up then it will hit you. You certainly won't learn it from Hoppy as he continues to provide cover for Capito and McKinley.

    To this point our Republican representatives are much more concerned about keeping their jobs than doing what's best for the country. Anyone who doesn't toe the line in the Republican party could face a challenger from the right and they're scared too death of that. What a joke these people are but it's no joking matter what's happening to the country.

    Talk about shallow, the country faces a REAL CRISIS but hey Rich Rod farted this morning, did anyone get a chance to smell it? Let's send someone from WV radio out to get a whiff and report back.

    • Alum

      Exactly what does this have to do with the article? Ah, just as I read and perceived - NOTHING.

      To take a word for wvman75 - knothead!!! Stay on topic, though that must be very hard for a knothead to do.

      TD could also stand for Total DB (you know what I mean).

    • TDisaHemorrhoid

      Liberal progressives are the enemy within. You call the Tea Party the enemy, but you break bread with the muslim brotherhood, al-qeada, al-nusra, Russia's Putin, Iran's Rouhani, and Syria's Assad.
      Actions speak louder than words TD. And the liberal leftist progressives' actions speak volumes. Progressives are un-American. Lock out the WWII vets and other vets, and welcome illegal immigrants with open arms.
      Some day soon the light will be shined upon what the heck Obama and Hillary were doing in Libya. Soon we will know.

      • scott

        Its amazing how when you shut the government down...things arent open. Ben Ghazi?....really?

        Wonder if the decider would of let the Syria question go to congress.

        Probably not after 3 years of Repugs calling for action and rattling their swords...only too anxious to send someone elses kids to die.

        My favorite is still the doddering old grey haired buffoon at the ww2 memorial telling the park ranger working for free she should be ashamed. Talk about having no shame.Or the Tea Party grand leader telling Obama to put down the Koran..Quran or however its spelled.

        Democrats are supposed to work with these people?

        Anyone is supposed to work with these people?

      • TD

        roider, I'm sure you won't acknowledge it but Obama has had some Outstanding foreign policy successes recently.

        Syria giving up their chemical weapons without our attacking them


        wait for it

        Obama managed to establish talks with Iran, this is WONDERFUL NEWS. We've been on an endless march to war with Iran for the past 30+ years and our wonderful President may have figured out how to avoid that tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved!!!! Of course Rush hates it along with the rest of the Chicken Hawks but outside your little TEA Party echo chamber in the real world, IT IS GREAT NEWS!!!!!!

        • Wirerowe

          Td the reason that we didn't bomb Syria which the President was set to do was because the American people demanded that it go before Congress to vote. They were heavily opposed to it. When it became obvious that Congress wouldn't vote for it. Putin offered a deal to save the Presiden't s face. The reason we did not follow the President's effort to bomb Syria when ther was no strategic interest was because the American people were overwhelming opposed to it. As for Iran if we actually strike a deal that is in America's and our allies best interest, then kudos to the President. I think Iran as always wants a deal where the West give up sanctions with nothing in return. They have changed from a name calling diplomacy to a smiling diplomacy but the Ayatollah still runs everything and I don't believe their objectives have changed one iota.

          • Hop'sHip

            Thank you TD. I don't always agree with you, but your last comment is something I could have written, or wish I had. I feel the same way about Hoppy. He could be a much needed voice of sanity in the state, and often he is. But I think he could do more. It's like moderate Muslims who don't call out the crazies acting in the name of their religion. Of course it is easier to criticize from the outside. But I wanted you know there are a few of us who appreciate your efforts here while taking all the abuse that you do.

          • wirerowe

            TD Who knows where to start with you brother. Have a wonderful night.

          • TD

            Woe is me,
            I'll just take that one line in your reply, "kudos to the president". Well said.

            Actually it shows you have a little opening in that mind which means you cannot be a TEA Party guy. The light is coming on and you're about to see the reality of what the Republican party has become.

            That's why I'm so upset with Hoppy, he also knows what's happening is horribly wrong but he won't say it. My guess is after he wrote the piece about burning down the village he received word from higher ups, toe the line or change the subject.

            He's the one guy in a unique position in this state to wake conservatives up. Nothing wrong with be a Republican or a conservative but the TEA Party ideology is literally to destroy the country.

    • bulldog95

      TD I have one simple question for you.

      Why doesnt Harry Reid bring up the house bill for a vote in the senate with no changes to it?

      I know you wont answer it, but allow me to answer it. It likely wont pass but a coupe of dems might actually vote for it. Harry Reid not bringing it up for a vote with no changes to it allows them to avoid the "they voted to shut down the government."

      Only in your world is it ok for the house to vote on the bill from the senate with no changes to it, but not expecting the senate to do the same thing. Its called being a hypocrite, its called being a TD.

      • TD

        Dog, Reid and Boehner met this summer and Reid agreed to the Republican spending levels in order to avoid this current mess, about $70 billion less than the Dems wanted. Boehner passed his budget, Reid passed his and they're supposed to go to conference to work out the differences. Boehner has refused since then to appoint any conferees to negotiate.

        So what you're asking is why won't Reid give Republicans EVERYTHING they want? Dems control the Senate, Thanks to the TEA party!, and the White House. Republicans don't get to dictate everything.

        There, did that clear it up for you?

        • TDisaHemorrhoid

          Reid has never passed a budget since Obama has been president. The only thing that passes in the Senate are continuing resolutions, that continue the federal spending at current levels. No reductions.
          TD there's the bell, class is out. You've been schooled again. Time to get on your little short bus.

        • bulldog95

          You must have a reading comphrension problem. I didnt say give them everything they want. I simply asked the question that Obama, Reid, and Pelosi have been asking which is have the house vote on the senate bill with no changes. If thats what they want then why doesnt Reid lead by example and let the senate vote on the houses bill without changes to it. I even said I dont think it would pass but not bringing it up for a vote, we will never know. But it does allow the media to give the senate a pass. If the dems vote it down then they get to be blamed for voting to shut down the government too.

          So by what you are saying with your reply is, that you think the house bill would pass the senate? If thats the case then we cant be giving the house everything they want. That attitude just oozes the desire to work together.

          • bulldog95

            You mean like how you and other leftist blame Bush. Talk about a broken record.

            So by avoiding the heart of my question do you agree that by not bringing up the house bill as is in the senate make Reid and others a hypocrite because they are demanding the house bring up theirs as is?

          • TD

            dog, many of the house members ran on shutting down the gov't, it was in their campaign speeches. A letter signed by more than 80 members sent to Boehner a couple months ago demanded he shut the gov't down over Obamacare. The Dems agreed to Republican budget demands and Boehner still wouldn't send the conferees..

            You think the Dems should take the blame? Like all Republicans you are a great contortionist, you have to turn yourself in every direction to find a way to blame someone else.

    • doug

      Ladies and gentleman....May I present to you, 1 of the 47% Romney spoke of. MR. TD!

      • TD

        how do you mean that Doug? I wouldn't be afraid to bet I work 15 hours a week more than you and pay more in taxes as well.

        • Hop'sHip

          Admit it TD,it was for the free phone that you support Obama. (By support, I mean don't sufficiently hate). You expect to get something out of this - like rational fiscal policy or wiser foreign policy.

    • Hop'sHip

      TD: Who cares what permanent damage they do to the nation? Don't you understand that it's all about getting your way? They're WINNING, at least in the eyes of those they care about. Maybe a few years down the line, like RichRod, they might conclulde they acted unwisely.

      • DWM

        No, it is all about protecting basic rights and the country's economy from Obamacare.

        • wirerowe

          Hops Please elaborate on how " ot has changed the incentive structure for providers that has them for the first time in many years looking at their operations and their relationship with their patients. " I am seeking understanding and not doubting you. I do question the administration taking credit and saying that health care costs have gone down because of the Affordable Health Care act before it is implemented. Costs went down because of the sluggish economy.

          • Hop'sHip

            Interesting, WVman. Reminds me of something else I recently read. Here YOU go:


          • wvman75

            Here you go hop'ship:


          • Charleston,WV

            As stated per CBO Budget Projection 2012:

            If lawmakers
            continued certain policies that have been in place
            for a number of years or modified some provisions of
            current law that might be difficult to sustain for a long
            period, the increase in spending on health care programs
            and Social Security would be even larger. Absent substantial
            increases in federal revenues, such growth in outlays
            would result in greater debt burdens than the United
            States has ever experienced.

            This was stated after the ACA was signed, sealed, and delivered.

          • wirerowe

            Thanks. That does sound like a positive step.

          • Hop'sHip

            I'll give you an example for hospitals. They are reimbursed by Medicare (and many private insurers have adopted this methodology) for a patient hospitalization based on the DRG assigned to that hospitalization (the primary reason for the hospitalization). The hospital would get same payment no matter the length of hospitalization. So the incentive is to discharge the patient as quickly as possible. But often the patient soon returns with the same diagnosis requiring an additional hospitalization (and additional payment). Thinking is that patient was discharged prematurely or without sufficient direction on what they should do to minimize possibility of readmission. ACA will require hospitals to combine these hospitalizations in one billing and will get a single payment. So that is why now if you are discharged from a hospital you can expect them to be calling you asking how you are doing and making sure you are complying with your medications. There are many other examples where it places greater responsibility on providers to keep their patients healthy. Needless to say, some providers aren't happy about it. Change is hard and there are always unintended consequences. But I think it sets us in the right direction.

        • wvman75

          Some conservatives are actually trying to do what the people elected them to do. Cut spending, establish and work within a budget, and reduce our enormous national debt. Obamacare will implode on it's own. Nobody likes it and nobody is buying it. All it's doing is driving up everyones' insurance premiums.

          • Hop'sHip

            When you say nobody likes"Obamacare" what proof do you have? Those polls like the ones that show nobody likes the Tea Party? Few people understand what is in Obamacare. It's a complex law. I would not claim to know all the cnsequences of it but I do know it has changed the incentive structure for providers that has them for the first time in many years looking at their operations and their relationship with their patients. Right now it is conjecture what impact the law will have. The exchange debut seems to have been disastruous and may foreshadow its "imploding". If so those who supported it will suffer politically, the law will be repealed, and those who you support will be empowered to take healthcare in this country where you think it should go. I sure wish you would tell us where that would be, though.

          • TD

            that's fine wvman but there is an established process for doing that. Get the bill passed by both houses of congress and signed by the president or override the president's veto. That is how our system works not this brinkmanship of defaulting the country to get your way. No first world nation can survive long like this.

    • wvman75

      TD must stand for totally dense. What a knothead.

  • Alum

    Nimrod didn't burn the bridges when he left, he napalmed them. It's hard to believe this is sincere especially considering he sued to get out of the buyout, (probably encouraged) CM to file racial discrimination allegations, and then contended the things he did in the depositions (yes, I read them). He was always looking for something bigger the last few years he was here (don't forget, MB inquired about LSU before Alabama came along). He also seemed to use whomever he could for his own ends. I suspect he has not changed but found out that the grass was not greener as he thougt. Perhaps he is now envious of Tony Gibson.

  • Medman

    The core of Rich's problems at WVU was "control". He and Rita felt deep down that the football program should be totally independent from WVU administrative control, even to the point of how and when the marching band performed. This is a common problem that is growing throughout college sports. The money and "winning at any cost mentality" makes some of these coaches think they are little dictators and have no obligation to the rest of the system. In WV, Rich was enabled by Manchin and several members of the Board to the point of no return. I totally agree that WVU did the right thing by drawing a clear line in terms of policy and adherence to NCAA rules.

    • WVU 74

      Your comment regarding the control of how and when the marching band performed, has merit. Right now Tennessee is doing exactly that with their marching band.

      Their Athletic Department is attempting to reduce costs by curtailing the travel of the band to Away games. Also, they seek to limit the band's playing of "Rocky Top" in order to increase revenue by exhibiting pre-paid commercials on their electronic scoreboard.

      Now, that's the Volunteer Spirit !!!

    • Wirerowe

      Medman recreates perfectly what went on at that time. Eddie loved WVU and the stat.thatwas the golden years of basketball and football. He did it quietly kept the teams within the lines and all without the soap opera and drama. Rich had gone crazy and was demanding too much . Eddie and the administration at the time did the right thing by keeping him in line and not backing down in the face of great success on the field,

      • Hop'sHip

        I thought we were chastised by the NCAA gods for lack of institutional control during this time, Wire.

        • wirerowe

          You are right Hops and Michigan were chastised for the same thing. Both were on Rich for as I recall having players work out under supervision beyond the maximum days permitted by NCAA. On the money for players and the recruiting there was never a whimper as I recall. Nothing is ever perfect in big time college sports. But we have great success with no serious allegations of stepping over the line. Eddy and the administration had to hold the line when the coach was at the top of his popularity. and had very powerful political and supporter connections. They did a good job.

          • wirerowe

            not picking sides. This is a small state I think Oliver Luck has done a lot of good things as well that were necessary for us to survive in the espn money driven world we live in . I just think that because Eddie was understated, he is not given the credit sometimes for the job he did.

          • Hop'sHip

            I'll defer to you on this, Wire. I know only what I read. You seem to have some inside knowledge. I have nothing againsy Pastilong, but I can't help thinking that he carries some bitterness about his departure and he or his allies may be feeding information to the media that is making life more difficult for his successor. Am I off-base on this?

    • Alum

      For an example of this see JoPa and PSU and what happens when a coach becomes a god.

  • AnxiousEER97

    Hoppy is at his best when discussing WVU sports. I mean that for all it's worth.

  • Bim

    If RichRod is at 50/50, Holgy is worse than Obama in WV. Big money at WVU will gladly take RichRod back. My prediction when Luck goes to Texas

  • Grant

    It was 2007. He threatened to leave for Alabama in 2006. If he came back, he would jump at the next "big" job if/when offered. People who want him are pathetic and are the type who keeps taking their cheating girl friend back. No thanks.

  • Bullman

    This is embarassing that Rich Rod is even still being brought up. He left, its over. Even if Holgerson doesnt work out we will get someone else. Who's to say Rod would want to come back to where half the fan base hates him. Its like we cant get over an ex girlfriend. ITS OVER!! You think he would be saying anything like this if he didnt get the axe at Michigan? Nope.

    • Dougie

      I was thinking the same thing. It's like a guy trying to get his ex back who cheated on him. Its sad and embarassing. Get over him, he's gone. He left! Even if he had been successful since then, (which he definitely hasn't been) I would still never welcome him back!

    • Pioneer

      Amen bro.....let it go

  • Jdawg

    If he wants to come back wvu would be very stupid not to take him back!!!! Come on home rich rod, please!!!!!!

    • scott

      Come on man!!!!!!!!

      Please indeed.

    • Red Dwarf

      Jdawg, if you remember, the demands that RR was making, if granted, would have lead to several fairly severe NCAA violations (the players' sale of text books comes first to mind, but there were others.) He knew WVU wouldn't, or couldn't give in, because he already had a foot out the door. I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I don't believe in winning at any cost. Pete Carroll, Lou Holtz, and yes, our own Bill Stewart, committed violations that hurt their programs. RR would do the same. Did he win at Michigan? No. Eyes were on him.

      • NCAA Fact Checker

        Just because somebody in a deposition claimed that Rich's demands were against NCAA rules, does not make them against NCAA rules.

        All across the country, at numerous NCAA institutions, student-athletes are still allowed to sell their books back at the end of the semester and keep the money. The schools that got in trouble for this were giving student-athletes books for classes that were not enrolled in and allowing the s/a to sell these books. That is a violation and not watch RR proposed.

    • clearanceman

      Maybe we should try to get Charlie Weiss too. Another guy that has set the coaching world on fire. Surely we shouldn't try to get someone like Nick Saban or Urban Meyer or anyone who is a leader in college coaching. Nope, the coaches who have been fired at least once are good enough for us!

      • WVU fan

        Lets be realistic here, when someone said rich rod is the best we can do lets remember we're not really a marquee program. Urban Meyer nor nick saban would show any interest in coming to Morgantown.

    • clearanceman

      Really, RR is the best we can do? Because he did so well at Michigan and AZ, huh?

    • Medman

      jdawg.... Bring him back, give him whatever he wants at any cost in order to win, right? Smart!

  • CaptainQ

    Hoppy, I caught your show yesterday when you covered this story, including the taped interview that you spoke of. The bottom line is, although Rich Rod is sorry NOW for his actions back then, he still burned WVU badly by leaving for Michigan and then tried to sue to get out of paying the required 4 million dollar exit fee.

    Even though time does heal all wounds, are West Virginians ready to 'forgive and forget' all Rich Rod did? Would he be welcomed with open arms if he returned to Morgantown as Mountaineer Head Coach? Who knows? If things get bad enough with the team this year, would the present Administration seek Rich Rod to replace Coach Dana?

    Interesting questions! Time will tell....

    • GregG

      Forgive and forget? Not me! As far as I am concerned the egotistical, power hunger control freak should never be allowed to set foot in the state out of WV. I can't even look at the man without having the overwhelming urge to slap that smug look off his face.

      • JohnnyT

        I can

      • El Supremo

        I whole heartedly agree. He thumbed his nose at all of West Virginia and displayed his IGNORANCE by attempting to get out of a contract that both he and his wife signed.

        Do you believe one word out of his mouth.
        I don't. Good riddance to a person with extremely poor ethics and character.

      • NorthernWVman

        Greg as I share some of your comtempt for him, he still is just a man. He makes mistakes as we all have. To hold such a grudge so long is not really healthy, IMHO. Really in the whole scheme of things does he matter that much to your life to carry such hatred? Let it go and let him hang his head in shame evrytime he returns to our great state.

        • Michael

          Agreed...and if he can put 9 or 10 wins up on the board every year...bring him back!!

        • Gadfly

          What NorthernWVman said.

      • must go

        What GregG Said!

        • Cynara


        • Tom


  • wvu999

    He wants to come back home and sees an opening with Holgs struggling.

    • Mac

      What Rich said is true. He was asking for new facilities and continued growth. Pastilong refused. Rich's response was an Eric Cartman, "Screw you guys, I'm going (to Michigan)".

      • keithlw

        That's not all RR wanted. He wanted to do things with the program that would have got us in trouble (and its documented). That the AD wouldn't allow.

    • Michael

      Bring him back. He won't leave again!