MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Turns out, the weekend in Fort Worth was a doubleheader split for Oliver Luck.

Won the football game. Lost the audition.

But whereas the football victory came over a feckless and spiraling opponent, Luck lost the Texas AD job to a superior candidate.

Steve Patterson becomes the Longhorns’ new athletics director, and Luck settles for some lovely parting gifts.

Patterson packs for UT mere days after telling Arizona State’s president he planned to stay. Luck stays at West Virginia mere days after we all presumed he’d be packing.

Patterson signs on for $1.4 million a year in Austin, and Luck keeps pulling down the same ole $550K in Morgantown.

Patterson receives the PIN code to a $160-million ATM, while Luck must stretch his sports dollar twice as far just to keep up.

Patterson returns to a state headquartering 52 of the Fortune 500 companies, while Luck seeks corporate donors in a state with zero.

Patterson will decide the fate of Mack Brown, while Luck’s fate remains tied to the success of Dana Holgorsen.

When I spoke last week with one of Luck’s potential replacements—back when it appeared Luck would actually need replacing—he said the depressed state of WVU’s football program would be a deterrent to candidates. Now that Luck is staying, directing WVU football back to winning heights becomes chief priority. (If you believe the arms-race paradigm, that means improving a stadium that by next year will trail all but Kansas among Big 12 schools. If you believe Holgorsen, it’s about better practice facilities and meeting rooms.)

If Holgorsen’s team pulls out more wins like the one last week at TCU, the hot-seat barkers won’t have much ammunition. If the Mountaineers revert to form from the previous three losses, Luck will face a very necessary decision on Holgorsen as soon as next year.

Luck’s initial decision-making on the Holgorsen-for-Bill Stewart swap was a sloppy miscalculation that devolved into a coach-in-waiting nightmare. And one that might have helped Patterson score slightly higher with the Texas advisory committee.

“This was purely about who was wiling to come in and shake it up,” said Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com during a Tuesday night interview with MetroNews “Statewide Sportsline.”

Preferring the new Texas AD be fearless in making culture-changing decisions, the eight-member committee and UT President Bill Powers culminated last weekend’s interviews “convinced that Patterson’s personality—a little bit more of a buzz saw than Oliver Luck—just gave him the edge.”

Brown was among several Texas-beat journalists to anoint Luck as the UT frontrunner, conjecture that stings a bit in hindsight. Yet as Brown conveyed to the “Sportsline” crew: “I was even told that coaches were told to expect Oliver Luck.”

ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reported Luck “thought he had” the job until Tuesday morning when the offer instead went to Patterson. If Luck truly was so blind-sided, you wonder how long the shock will last, how he’ll recover after coming so close to running the nation’s most lucrative college athletics program. This was Dewey beats Truman, only with nine voters as opposed to 48 million.

Regardless, the awkward scale for Saturday night’s Texas-WVU football game just popped a spring. And if by chance Patterson chooses to fly eastward for his Texas debut, the Fox TV cameras might spend the whole night in split-screen format between the field and the AD’s box.

Outside of “Mad Men,” you couldn’t hope to coax more drama from two fellows in dapper suits, sitting stoically and pondering the life-changing week that was.

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Comments

  • joke of a reporter

    Was this an opinion column or a news article? Hopefully JR doesn't stop too fast. You may end up somewhere unpleasant. I used to enjoy Metronews but ever since the media deal thing they have proven they have no interest in unbiased news. Oliver Luck is the best thing to happen to our athletic department in the last 30 years. If Eddie and his crew were still in charge, we'd be playing Temple and Villanova every week instead of Texas and Oklahoma. Gimme a break!!

    • Martinsburg Resident

      Amen!

    • Mark

      Hey joke, if you don't like Metronews why are you here? Normally if I don't like something I don't support it.

    • Public Ed

      That, my friend, was a joke of a comment. Mr. Taylor's articles have been extremely well written and 100% factually correct. I guess you don't want the facts to get in the way of a 'good story' huh?

  • polarbear

    Lee and Captian the reason he wanted the Texas job is because he is Alumni. Not to get out of Morgantown as you say. This whole piece stinks of JR rubbing it in Olivers face. See 2nd sentence."Luck lost out on the Texas AD job to a superior candidate" OL was a finalist to be AD for the largest athletic department. Not bad in my book. Allen keep being a puppet for JR and his hatred for OL.

    • Public Ed

      Sooo polarbear.....you would prefer for Mr. Taylor to not be honest in his articles. Based on everything I've read from the Texas media, OL did get beat by a better candidate. What would you like Mr. Taylor to write? That he wasn't offered the job because of the mess he has created at WVU?

  • Larry

    Sounds like Luck is desperately wanting out of WV, the next decent opportunity and he's gone, if he can get the job that is.

    • Brent

      Hard to believe that you would correlate an opportunity to lead the top program with a desperate act. That is tantamount to suggesting that a CEO who considered an opportunity to succeed Warren Buffet as a desperate act. The message board crowd makes emotional comments and draws irrational conclusions. When one runs a business, he or she cannot do that. That type of activity is reserved for journalists and the message board crowds. They don't have to worry about the difference between the triple option and incentive stock options.

      • Larry

        If he's still at WVU in 2 years, I'll renounce my comment, I don't think I will have to.

        • Steve

          Who cares if you do or don't? You are nothing but a jealous Marshall troll.

          • Steve

            I can't stand Marshall.

        • Brent

          Perhaps you might volunteer to count the additional $50 million we will have collected by then. Of course I anticipate that financial stability might not be important to you, but it is to most successful organizations.

  • Ryan

    I think we should fire Luck now and run the athletic department as a democracy of the fan base. Based on what you read here and on the message boards, we have plenty of people that know everything there is to know about running a major college sports program. Had we done this several years ago, we'd obviously be in the ACC, Nick Saban would be wearing gold and blue on our sideline, we'd never play an FCS school again, our stadium would have 85000 seats with ticket prices back at 1996 levels, and Jerry West would have already taken us to 3 final fours. It's really just that simple. Dumb people like Luck just don't get how easy the AD job should be.

    • mountain man

      favorite comment ever

    • Martinsburg Resident

      I love sarcasm... most of the "Tools" who post these negative remarks are doing so in their parent's basement! Fools! Go Mountaineers & BEAT Texas!

    • Anon

      Love it.

    • Steve

      Great post.

      The Marshall trolls on here probably didn't like it though.

    • wvumitch

      Ryan, the word "brilliant" gets overused a lot in our society... but brother, that was freaking BRILLIANT!!!

    • Debra

      Ryan, LMAO! That was GREAT!

    • Rob

      Awesome, Ryan!!!

    • Daniel

      This statement sums it up perfectly! I love it! Let's not forget that other high-caliber schools would be drooling to get into our conference for a chance to play against the best of the best (WVU). We would also have the highest rated recruits (mostly 5 stars), the football stadium would have a retractable dome and Heisman Trophy winners would outnumber the first-round picks in the NFL draft! And that's just for the football program!

  • CaptainQ

    Looks like Oliver Luck is already setting up to 'Rich Rod' WVU. Shows where his TRUE loyalties are, and it's NOT for the "Blue & Gold", it's just for the "GOLD," as much payoff as he can get.

    Sounds like THIS is the perfect situation to have a "AD in waiting" grooming to take Luck's place when that 'better offer' comes along. Wonder if Luck has started packing his family's belongings yet? He may as well, his heart's set on leaving Morgantown.

    • Larry

      Yep, I agree. He's a short timer for sure.

    • Anon

      So, if a job opportunity came along that tripled your salary you wouldn't be interested??? I cannot fault a man for being interested a better job.

      • CaptainQ

        So, by implication Anon, you're saying that Oliver Luck, by his actions, admits that the Texas AD job is BETTER than the AD position he now holds? Using YOUR line of thinking then, how is this NOT an indirect insult by Luck towards WVU?

        Over the decades, one thing I've noticed about the typical workplace environment is this: Those employees who are always searching for another job are not happy with the job they now hold. This is why for now on, I will no longer trust that Ollie is 100% dedicated to the Mountaineer organization. Mr. Luck is no longer "Matt Dillon", he is now Paladin with the philosophy "Have Gun,. Will Travel... FOR MORE MONEY!"

        • Anon

          Let's see, triple the pay, $160 million dollar budget? Blue and gold glasses aside, who say that was a better job?? job. I bleed blue and gold. I'm an alumni. I have season tickets. Heck yea I think it's a better job! That's no slam against WVU. It's reality. And no, I didn't have a problem with Rich leaving for a higher paying job. The way he left is another story....

      • Mark

        serious question...did you fault Rich Rod for leaving for a better job?

    • Mike

      C'mon guys if another company that has more prestige calls you and doubles or more your salary you won't take it because of loyalty?

      • CaptainQ

        For leaving? No.

        For the WAY he left? YES!!!

        • CaptainQ

          That reply was for Mark's question on Rich Rod.

  • lee arthur

    Fire Luck now and find a person that is not using WV as a stepping stone.

    • Big Larry

      Amen...Oliver Luck has brought the WVU football and basketball programs down into the Abyss and that is one of the reasons why he tried to jump ship.

      The paid trolls and relatives are here only to sing his praises but the truth is he was ready to sell out after the mess he got us into.

      The Board at UT saw the sad state of affairs this athletic program was in and pulled the plug on Oliver Luck...

      Its not rocket science to see that.

      • Scott

        WVU should not be interested in anyone that is not using WVU as a stepping stone. Frankly, WVU is not a good enough (well-paying enough) job to keep high-caliber talent there. It's better that WVU deals with a revolving door of qualified, ambitious leaders like Luck than invite back the stagnation of good ole boy Ed Pastilong era.

        If you think WVU football is in bad shape now, remember that we could have been left behind like UConn, Cincy, or other Big East cohorts. If that would have happened, WVU football would fall off the map completely after we could no longer recruit anyone worth a damn and didn't have any money to improve our facilities.

        Luck's tenure has not been flawless, but all of our non-revenue sports are on the upswing and I give Luck full credit for getting WVU in the Big 12 over Louisville. Luck avoided disaster and set us up for success, now it's up to Dana and Huggs to lift their respective programs up by the bootstraps.

  • Joe

    Wonderif OLs non-aaction in addressing the terrible state of special teams and secondary coaching despite over the top salaries had any influence on the decision. If so, this DeForrest truly is the cancer that just keeps on giving.

    • Pruntytown

      I thought he was the AD not the head coach. My mistake. I believe we fired two defensive coaches last year and replaced them with Mitchell and Gibson. Take must be my mistake also.

      • Pruntytown

        Take? That was my mistake also, as well.

  • chuck

    William, there is no truth to that whatsoever. No disrespect but apparently you haven't been around WVU long.

  • Tom

    Allan,

    Great article! You are quite the wordsmith.

    • Hop'sHip

      I agree. Well written, except I am pondering this sentence. "If Luck truly was so blind-sided, you wonder how long the shock will last after coming so close to running the nation’s college athletics program." Texas is "THE NATION"S COLLEGE ATHLETIC PROGRAM"? I thought that was Notre Dame.

      • Mister Man

        Athletic program, not just football program.

  • cb

    I bet today will be a little awkward. Like telling your wife you are leaving her for a prettier girl only to find out the pretty girl has a new bf.

    I couldn't understand how he was a front runner after the hiring disasters he performed at wvu. He did the coach in waiting thing, fired a coach with a good record and hired an offensive genius who hasent shown he can recruit speed or qbs, which are the two things he needs.

    sure the beer sales thing was a good choice, but the big 12 thing was due to the success of the program before his arrival. Would we be invited now?

    • Larry

      Good points, although I think they could do without the beer sales.

    • Steve

      Have you noticed how Randy Mazey has turned our baseball program around and the success they had? The parks were more full of fans than I ever remember. Then there is the fiasco with Jill Kramer the new volleyball coach who has turned that program into a very competitive team. Yes those are sure two disasters! Football is not great but we should give the whole situation a little time and see how all parties handle this in the next 1-2 years.
      I encourage anyone to better themselves. I love my job and the folks I work with but if you offer me a similar job with and similar raise OL could have received, I am probably out of here!

      • Concerned

        Agreed. People need to look at the entire picture. Being an AD is more than fball and bball. It's soccer, volleyball, baseball, track, soon to be golf among others. The Stewart thing could have been handled better, by everyone involved including Bill and Oliver. But to me the positives outweigh the negatives greatly. Football and bball will come around. Rarely does a school change conferences and fair very well at first. Look at Va Tech, Miami, Tcu, Nebraska, Etc. Everyone struggles. There's lots to digest for a new member about its new foes, not nearly as much for those already there.

        • Shadow

          The Rifle Team is World Class and OL left them out in the cold.

          • Mister Man

            Nope.

          • Shadow

            As I remember reading the story, they were kept alive by their supporters. I don't know what association they perform in now.

          • J the C

            the rifle team isn't a sport, you goof!

          • Shadow

            Shooting not a sport? Where were you raised? Not in WV. As to WVU football being a sport? This year,it has been more of a joke.

    • wv4evah

      excellent points cb. but you left out the whole broadcasting fiasco. luck has too much baggage.

  • David Kennedy

    The problem with Oliver Luck is this:
    He is just too far ahead of the West Virginia curve.
    He's the guy we will be ready for after 10 more years of current growth.
    It's the 'Bobby Bowden Factor all over again. Losing Bobby and then the football program comes to a higher level and we wished we could have had his service.
    I hope West Virginia is prudent and uses Mr. Luck's service while they have it.
    Give him a raise as a gesture of food faith. Money is really not a factor in these job decisions anyway, but some positive statement should be made... out of moral obligation if nothing else.
    I'm hoping we can keep Mr. Luck in our service for about 2/3 more years.
    It will be very difficult to replace his quality.

    • wvrefugee

      You're joking, right??

    • Jason

      "Money is really not a factor in these job decisions anyway" - I believe money is the ONLY factor in job decisions when it comes to college sports. It all comes down to the dollar. How much can you bring into the school, how much can you pay me, how much can you raise the budget, how much is the TV network going to pay, etc. it is 100% about money.

    • Metzger

      I have to wonder why he is so anxious to walk away from his job while in the middle of a major transition that he initiated.....

  • William

    WVU football and basketball is at a all time LOW.
    WVU does not belong in the BIG 12 for many reasons
    WVU has a football coach that does not like Morgantown and wants to leave ASAP.
    Now they have a AD that wanted out of Morgantown and wants to leave the MESS
    Now Morgantown is STUCK with LUCK and "Man in Black" Holgorsen.
    Its a very sad time to be a Mountaineer fan wherever you may be.

    • Alum

      Too bad you are not a fan, troll. Now run along back to your home along the Ohio.

      • Guardian

        Which was Oliver's home too, by the way.

    • MGD

      Good enough for the NCAA selection committe but not good enough for WVU?? Quality comment, you are really on top of your game.

      • Lumberjacket

        He is on the selection committee because they somebody without a conflict of interest and they knew our football program will not create a conflict for a committee member. :)

    • william is clueless

      Football and basketball are at an all time low? Holgersen hates motown? Go back to Huntington Doc and play in traffic

    • Martinsburg Resident

      Why do these "Tools" even visit sites related to Mountaineer Sports... must be "Green" envy?? Go Mountaineers and I for one give my FULL support to both Oliver Luck & Dana Holgorsen. "It's a great day to be a Mountaineer wherever you may be!"

    • wvtd

      the mountaineers have been down before but always rise back up sooner or later. so goes life.

      go mountaineers!

    • Doug

      Once again William. Johnny Cash's estate lawyer is looking for you for trademark violations for using "The man in black."

    • Big Larry

      Unfortunately...We are stuck with Luck...

      • Big Larry

        And yes...

        It is a SAD SAD day to be a Mountaineer sports fan...

        Wherever you may be...

    • Mark Hamilton

      You Sir don't have a clue about WVU and Morgantown. We are glad to have Luck and the Big 12 is lucky to have WVU. Yes, there will be some adjusting to the Big 12 but WVU will respond and be a force in both football and basketball. If Holgorsen doesn't get it done we will find another coach. It happens. Remind me again, who in the Big 12 has won 3 BCS bowl games? Oklahoma, Texas and wait for it, WVU. One of those BCS wins was a blow out of Oklahoma. How quickly they forget.

      • Shadow

        Every league wants a cream puff, the Big 12 is no different. Sad, that it is WVU.

      • MoMoney

        Who lost their first Big12 bowl game to a lowly mediocre Big East team in an embarrassing blowout?? How quickly they forget. Big12 is lucky to have WVU? What are you smoking? Don't be a bogart. Big12 regrets inviting WVU and not Louisville now. WVU will never win more than 7 games in a season with Holgorsen as head coach and with his own recruits. He won an Orange Bowl with a different coach's recruits and a different coaching staff. Since that Orange Bowl win, Holgorsen is 11-11. Mediocrity at its best. That pretty much sums up Holgorsen as a head coach--mediocrity.

        • Jock Strap

          So your great logic is Louisville is better than WVU but yet you would be ok being in the same conference and Louisville and getting beat by them. Makes a lot of sense. Also seeing as how you can see the future so clear who wins the national championship 2018 I would really like to know. One last point name the last coach that took over a team and didn't win or lose with the previous coaches players the next year.

          • JaneM

            @Jock like your post .... Like to add something if I may... The WVU villains never mentioned what Dana has to work with when he came in as head coach (William) Bill Stewart left the Cupboard empty.. Dana has to play somewhere close to 90% freshmen and sophomores and JC players.. Those days will soon be over because we're sittting on somewhere close to 15 redshirt freshman this year .. Then we can just call it reload every year.... Critics have your fun your days will soon be over.. West Virginia will be winning and surprising the nation.. That's what I call prediction...

        • Larry

          I'm thinking you're right, and Louisville has to be thanking their lucky stars that the Big12 didn't take them, and the ACC did, makes much more sense from a geographic standpoint.

          • Jock Strap

            Has everyone forgotten that the ACC did not want WVU. They didn't want us when they took Miami , Boston College and VT, did not want us when they took Pitt and Syracuse, did not want us when they took Louisville just plain out did not nor do not ever want us. Unless we can force our way in the geographic argument is mute. Luck found us a home, the only one that would take us in and secured us a place in a relevant conference. And that's the bottom line, Period. (Even though it may hurt our feelings no one wanted WVU it just the way it is.)

      • Mike Thomas

        Mark - Thanks for pointing this out to the disgruntled WVU fans. 3 BCS wins against the Big 12 - The SEC - The ACC
        nuff said !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Old school

      If u think wvu basketball is at an all time LOW, u must be 16.... Gail's last two years, resigning in shame, replacement takes offer and then quits in less than a week, no, this is far from the lowest and to have a home grown son, future hall of famer, that wants to be here at the helm.....if u can't support that William, start cheering for Pitt, u are exactly the kind of fan they deserve

    • mauldawg

      William If your so sad,take Big Larry and the rest of the cry babies on this site and go back to MU where you belong..Posters like you need to grow up.

    • MIKE

      Sounds to me like you need a new team to root for....try PITT!
      My Father always to me "If you can't say something good......don't say anything." so shut up!

  • rekterx

    That's a very good interview with Chip Brown. I think it tells you all that anybody outside of the process of UT hiring a new AD needs to know.

    Ollie was considered a great candidate. But Patterson comes at things from a little different angle, an angle that consolidated all of the UT people.

    End of story. Let's play football.

  • Habib Haddad

    Look for Mr. Luck to land a front office management position on a pro team somewhere in Texas in the near future. I hope I am wrong because there is still work to be done in Morgantown as you correctly pointed out, Allan.

  • Tim C

    Arizona State might come after Luck now.

    • Big Larry

      "Let the name of Oliver Luck be stricken from every book and tablet, stricken from all pylons and obelisks, stricken from every monument in Morgantown. Let the name of Oliver Luck be unheard and unspoken, erased from the memory of men for all time".

      • Art in Ohio

        That's just plan silly. It' a good day when WVU keeps Oliver Luck. Very respected man in college and professional athletics. I'm glad he will continue to lead this program into the future with the Big 12 Conference. His only major set back was the Bill Stewart situation and he knows it. The Dana hiring will show good results in the next two years. We cannot just go out and start firing everyone and start all over again every few years. With Olive we have a solid foundation and we will continue to improve the athletic program at West Virginia.

        • Kevin

          Agrees,,,,,I'm just a fan,, but I realize we're lucky to have what we got,, were not going to be in the top 25 every year,, even nick Saban couldn't do that here,,

          • Jason

            (RR pretty much did)

          • wvu09

            pretty sure RR had a 3-8 in there and missed some bowl games some of those years. RR didn't think we were the worth his time, yet people keep wasting their time with him. He doesn't deserve to wear the old gold and blue again!

          • shawn

            RR first season was his worst and we became respected after his 2nd year. He left us a top 10 team. Oh and pretty sure he did the same for Michigan.

        • Richard

          All Luck has to do is fire Holgerson and I will be happy.

          • Big Larry

            What about Huggins? If Luck would fire Huggins And Holgorsen...that would definitely spell redemption for him. At least in my book.

          • Brandon

            Your a idiot Richard. You dont fire Huggins NO MATTER WHAT

        • Jephre

          +1

        • Debra

          +1

      • mauldawg

        Big Larry You are a total idiot.