Multiple reports out of Texas suggest that Oliver Luck will be named the next athletics director at the University of Texas, succeeding the retiring DeLoss Dodds. Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com said on Metronews Statewide “Sportsline” Friday night that the announcement could come as soon as this week.

Luck hasn’t said a word about the job, and these stories rely on unidentified sources, so we won’t know for sure until there’s an official announcement. Still, the indicators point to Luck as the most likely choice.

WVU President Jim Clements is a fan of Luck’s. When the president announced last year that Luck’s contract had been extended from 2015 to 2017 with a pay raise (Luck’s base is $550,000 with performance bonuses of up to $150,000) he heaped praise on him.

“Oliver Luck is a true leader,” Clements said. “He has brought stability, momentum and energy to his position. He is someone we want on our team for many more years to come.”

Still, in the back of his mind, Clements must be developing a list of potential replacements in case Luck moves on.  Here are some people with experience and West Virginia connections that are being tossed around:

Rob Mullens. You can argue that Mullens already has one of the best jobs in the country as the AD at the University of Oregon. The athletic department is flush with cash thanks to the open checkbook from Nike founder and Oregon graduate Phil Knight.  For example, the new $68 million Football Performance Center, complete with Brazilian hardwood floors in the weight room, was paid for by Knight.

But Mullens has strong West Virginia ties, having grown up in Morgantown, where he received undergraduate and graduate degrees from WVU.  Mullens has an extensive background in the business side of athletics, including stints at Kentucky, where he managed day-to-day operations, and Maryland, where he ran the athletic department’s financial office.

What would it take to get Mullens back to West Virginia? Maybe just a call from Clements to say, “Come home. We need you.”

Whit Babcock. The Harrisonburg, Va., native had a successful five-year stint in Morgantown with the Mountaineer Athletic Club, the fundraising wing of the athletic department. While at WVU, Babcock earned a master’s degree in sports management in 1996.

Babcock left to take a position as senior associate athletics director at the University of Missouri.  In 2011, he was hired as athletics director at the University of Cincinnati, where officials said Babcock’s “background in fundraising, marketing, promotions, ticket sales, licensing and multimedia partnerships were key attributes in support of his hiring.

Shane Lyons. The current deputy director of athletics at the University of Alabama is a native of Parkersburg, W.Va. Lyons has undergraduate and graduate degrees from WVU in sports management.

Prior to going to Alabama in 2011, Lyons was an administrator for 10 years with the Atlantic Coast Conference.He also worked at the NCAA for nine years and spent three more within the Texas Tech compliance office.

Jim Schaus. The name Schaus is deeply rooted in WVU athletics. His late father, Fred, played and coached basketball at WVU and was athletics director from 1981 until his retirement in 1989.

Jim Schaus received his undergraduate degree from Purdue, where his father coached basketball, and his masters in athletics administration from WVU.  Before taking over at Ohio University in 2008, Schaus worked for nine years as AD at Wichita State University.

Bob Huggins. Last year, Huggins signed a contract extension that allows him to opt out of coaching after the 2017-2018 season and move into a public relations role with the athletic department. That suggests Huggins, 60, is contemplating the end of his coaching career and the next chapter in his life.

What the iconic coach lacks in administrative experience, he makes up for with his dedication to the University and the state, as well as the knowledge he has gained during a lifetime in athletics.

That’s my somewhat arbitrary short list, in no particular order. What’s yours?

 

 

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Comments

  • Allan

    I think Hoppy has them lined up spot on. Mullens, Babcock and Lyons all are with dominating conferences and schools and would be a suitable replacement for Ollie. But even for them, WVU would be a step down and temporary at best....even if they have ties to WV.

  • Shadow

    I think Huggins is the pick. He is the only one that moved back to Morgantown on his desire.Getting someone from outside Morgantown will double the cost and reduce the chance of staying.

  • Joseph Goebbels

    I vote for Harvey Peyton..... He'll sue our way into a national championship

    • Hop'sHip

      I could think of another candidate from Palm Beach, Florida who also has a penchant for filing law suits and who already believes he should be making decisions regarding the WVU Athletic Department. If chutzpah is a desired attribute, he has it in spades.

  • Matt

    I like the Huggs idea for a WV guy, however I think to move into the future we need a national name, please look outside our states walls.

    • WVUP

      Why do you need a name from "outside" our states walls? Seems like many folks from inside our state have done very well. Why not give someone like Tim McNeely the opportunity to do great things "inside" our state. He would be a great AD. He did a tremendous job as tournament director at both the Nationwide tournament at Pete Dye and at the Greenbrier Classic. Running a golf tournament on the PGA tour is a very tough job and he did an excellent job at it. He could move WVU forward and make the state proud doing it.

  • Jim N Charleston

    Skippy,

    Didn't read the article but did catch the headline & a few of the Names in BOLD.

    Oliver is leaving. No news there. Its TEXAS for crying out loud. Thanks Oliver for all you've done to help & sorry WV is stuck with the GOB club crying over change.

    As for the candidates

    Rob Mullen would have to be totally wacked to leave Phil Knight University for WVU. Of course Oregon does have legal lettuce burning so maybe that explains it.

    Whit Babcock would probably want the job but to quote the Rolling Stones, you can't always get what you want.

    Lyons????? Never heard of him & don't know a thing about him. He gets my vote out of your listt.

    Jim Schaus is a son of a Fred Schaus. No thanks.

    Bob Huggins. You've got to be kidding? The only benefit to him being AD is beer sales being expanded, like on the sidelines. Not that there's anything wrong with it.

    All I know is I hope whoever it is, I hope they're somewhat like Luck. No love for the GOB network & legacy deals and does what makes WVU sports the most $$$$$. Plus the new guy has to like Dana and IMG which means metronews actually does news instead of being cheerleaders and butt kissers for WVU sports like you were prior to IMG.

    Btw no one really cares about radio coverage in sports that is televised.

    Btw2 I made a bloody fortune taking WVU to win at TCU just like I stated Friday. Got to love Vegas.

    All I got
    I'm Jim back N WV

  • Fed Up

    Tim McNeely gets my vote..

  • Dave

    Hoppy...It surely seems that you have an inside ear of a little bird. That said...whoever it is should be thick skinned as we need someone with vision if we plan on going forward. Good luck to whoever accepts the position...no pun intended.

  • Joseph Goebbels

    I'm glad this is the topic of the day=== It means we have won---- Obama FOR LIFE!!!

    • old female grad

      I'm offended by the name under which you post. Do you think it's funny or are you just speaking as one of the prejudiced, intolerant people for which the state of WV is known? I speak as a native West Virginian who left the state and broadened my horizons and world view.

      • Native WV

        I'm sure you are not missed.

        • old female grad

          And I don't miss WV, except for its beautiful hills and my days as a student at WVU! I left in the 1960's and don't regret it one bit. BUT I will ALWAYS be an avid follower of my Alma Mater and the Mountaineer Football and Basketball teams. I just have NO tolerance for prejudice and intolerance,which I see is even more prevalent today than it was in the 1960's, and felt compelled to call out the poster who so blatantly shows his ignorance.

          • Old Wv grad is a dirty hippie

            You must be a burned out hippie! Lighten up! Go trip some LSD and shut up. We're talking about sports and the athletic program at wvu, not nazis or the holocaust! Hopefully the university picks a good candidate. Go mountaineers!

      • wirerowe

        Well with you new found sophistication you might understand that Joseph Goebbles if he were alive today would very likley admire and appreciate many of the President's statements including the one about keeping you insurance if you were happy with it. He is following Goebbels's game plan to a T. Make it a big whopper and keep repeating it over and over and over. so It is not far fetched for someone to be going by that name.

        • Shadow

          The one good thing about Goebbels is that he is dead.

          • old female grad

            Thank you, Shadow!

        • old female grad

          Wirerowe, My comment has nothing to do with President Obama and everything to do with the poster who has the audacity and poor taste to use the name of one of the architects of the holocaust. (By the way, his name is spelled Goebbels.Look him up...you might learn something.) How dare you compare our president to such an evil man! You and "Joseph Goebbels", the poster, are sadly misinformed, uninformed and have proven my original point.

          • The Desert Fox

            Old female grad. I think you need to lighten up. This is a comment board where people can post their opinions. If you don't like it, then don't read it. I'm sure the minister of propaganda/commenter (Goebbels) is just trying to provoke you. You obviously think you are better than all of us racist hillbillies. Which I am not. Since you left WV and think we are dumb, don't read articles and post on here. Your intolerant attitude and assumption that people from WV are backwards is offensive to me! Take a chill pill and quit crying. I think Tim McNeely would be a great choice.

          • wirerowe

            Old female grad. Thanks for the spelling correction. You need to be around more to help me there. You are changing the argument. Goebbels and all of the Nazis were totalitarian misanthropes. Despicable human beings. I hold the President in much much higher regard than that. If you will research Goebbels you will find his propaganda game plan was based on the big lie that was told over and over again. I stand by my assertion that Goebbels would admire the President's ability to get by with telling the sam big whoppers time and again. there was no comparison of the two and no comparison intended. you are the one who compared the two and I think that is a very unfair comparison.

          • The bookman

            Don't let her get to you, wire...I believe Goebbels is none other than Hop's Hip in his Mr. Hyde personality...whomever he or she is ,they are an alter personality of a regular poster who is having a little fun poking at us...old gal grad takes herself much to importantly, and methinks she doth protest too much...

          • wirerowe

            Thanks Bookman. As always you have a great feel for the games being played here. I am less into the games and take things too literally. Thanks for having my back and have a great night.

          • sunnycal

            to old female grad, your right poor taste to use the name Goebbels, but how dare you call the president OUR president. He's all yours not mine.

          • FungoJoe

            Obama might be your president, but he is not mine. I don't have a confirmed habitual liar for a president.

  • CaptainQ

    I think Oliver Luck became a more desirable 'candidate' for the Texas AD position when it was announced that he'd be on the new BCS playoff committee. That prestige factor probably gave Luck the edge for the job with the Longhorns. As for who will replace him, your guess is as good as mine. Would be nice to hire someone with WV roots, but that may not happen.

    • vashti

      i bleieve he was on the list long before the BCS appointment Cap. he is incredibly well respected in Texas

    • steve

      Did you ever think that Texas may have wanted him to have that seat on the BCS selection committee?

  • Wirerowe

    Ditto on Tim McNeely.

  • Concerned citizen

    I think Tim Mcneely would be a great addition to our athletic department. Law degree, experience with our legislature and very deep roots and relationships in our state. Also did a tremendous job running the Greenbrier Classic. The tournament was named "Best in Class" by the PGA tour and gave our state phenomenal publicity. If not the guy , then he would make a great #2 man and would compliment any of those mentioned above

  • JJ

    A thought. If WVU AD is perceived as a desirable position, why would only those with WV ties be on a candidate short list?

    • Wirerowe

      I think it is not so much who is interested in us as who we are interested in. IMHO in this ear of big business sport, West Virginians want to win but they would much rather win with people with West Virginia connections and loyalties. That may not be realistic but it is a reality.

  • rekterx

    Bob Huggins can't even put together a basketball team and he wants to run the whole athletic department?

    • Grant

      Because our big donors love him, and he helped raise millions of dollars from our fan base?

      • William

        "Sweatsuit" Huggins has been a FAILURE at WVU.
        Look at the SHOW he put on at the games, because he loves all the ATTENTION.
        Look at what he did at the Nike Clinic at Robert Morris! What a embarrassment he was. How about what he said to the Ref last year, what a class act this joker is
        He treats his players terrible, Why would any kid come to WVU to play for this coach?
        HE THROWS HIS PLAYERS UNDER THE BUS ALL THE TIME. RECRUITS, STAY FAR AWAY FROM THIS GUY!

    • William

      "Sweatsuit Huggins" - would be a joke!
      He has been a embarrassment on and off the court and to the State of West Virgina
      When you hire people with character issues, things could end up in a BIG MESS!
      He should have been FIRED for what he said to the referee on the court last year!

    • susanf1218

      Bob Huggins?? Mr. Personality - not!?? Or, as I call him, the eternally gloomy human version of Eeyore? Surely you can't be serious!

  • Joe

    Btw, Hop and all....I really enjoy reading these types of columns that highlight successful people with roots in WV. Shows that WV is as fine a starting point as anywhere else for anyone who works hard and takes responsibility to have a fine career, whatever that area would be.

    Joe

    • Wowbagger

      True, like 18th century Europe, West Virginia is a good place to be from!

      • Joe

        The smartasses are out in full force today.

        • Wowbagger

          Hey, some of my ancestors moved here before it part of the colony of Virginia. I'm still here, but with the stupid political climate limiting my prospects I should have taken one of the the jobs in Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, or Wyoming, but I didn't. Returns are still out, but I still might retire somewhere else.

    • Joe

      Sorry, Hop. My bad.

    • hailey

      Wow, you have won the biggest idiot award, hope you are proud of yourself. time to grow up

      • Pruntytown

        I would like to thank the Academy for this award. There was alot of great competition. I have a list of people I would like to thank, but I'm worried I might leave someone out. Of course there is God and my wife, but let's not forget WILLIAM, and of course Joe. I hear music, does that mean my time is up...

    • Joe

      That comment was completely out of line Prunty.

    • derek

      Show some respect idiot really!!!!

  • Joe

    I don't suppose Jerry West would be interested, at least during the AD search and transition period.

    • Pruntytown

      Why does an AD have to be over 60 to be considered? I nominate Patrick White for the position.

    • Harpers Ferry

      Or maybe Sam Huff? Actually, if they REALLY want to go the old guy rout, I'm sure Don Knotts is available.

      • Joseph Goebbels

        Keepin up on current events, are we?

    • Joe

      Prunty and Harper....just suggesting an idea. For crying out loud, lighten up. Last time I checked, West was still considered one of the best sports executives out there.

    • Vito

      Personally I Hope That Oliver Luck Does ""Move On""..

      He Has Brought Little To WVU Sports Except A Small Recognizable Name. I Consider Oliver Luck Is Like Heather "Manchin" Bresch . Both Have Brought Curse;s On WVU !!!