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

  • Byron

    Yes it is true things could be better at WVU in the major sports. But what about the kids that are doing a great job on other WVU teams. Some of you people have to much time on your hands. If you have to always put WVU down please go to another location on the net. How about helping Ohio St or help put another team down in your low chambers where some of you seem to be. If you can not find anything good to say about the kids who work so hard at WVU stay off the net.

  • Realist

    Wow, you all really can't get over the Third Tier bids can you? Come on Allan you all tried to say WV would lose money by moving to the BIG XII and now they ended up making over 4 million without even receiving their full Big XII payment and now you need another way to go so you are trying to say Luck is unqualified. Get over the hurt feelings from Luck and move on. Tearing down the University every chance you get is getting old.

  • Billy Bob

    Clint Luck is one of the best ADs in the country. Our losing record doesn't mean anything because our AD fills the stadium. You guys should show more support to Clinton Wilbur Luck! He's the best AD. We also have that one quarterback Harold "Piggy" Sims. HE can really throw the ball! Roll Tide! Go War Eagles!

  • tw eagle

    i'm not sure where Patterson is from , but i'd guess the choice boiled down to taking the
    "home boy " . . .Mr Luck , from the Cleveland area , played at WVU , and spent a few years in texas schooling and working . . .polishing his resume , and watching his children grow into adulthood . . .in the end texas went for the 'home boy ' - trusting more in known cultural background than in the proven track record . . .

  • WV62

    Truth is this article should be on the editorial page. Allen you done good JR will be happy!!

  • Bob P.

    Nonsense like this is going to drag metronews down the same sinkhole as the dominion post.
    Take home points:
    -When Tx comes calling and you are in the B12 you had better listen no matter what because future issues with WVU are certainly assoicated with any interaction.
    -WVU has an AD who was a top candidate for the biggest position in the country (sorry, ND but who cares about your underproducing programs) AND who is one of the few who will now sit on one of the most important selection committees in college athletics.

  • thornton

    Is it just me or has this particular story occupied the head interest slot for far longer than normal?

    Subtlety, thy name is absent.

  • Mike

    @Ryan- Best. Post. Ever!

  • rekterx

    Hey! I've got an idea!

    Let's put the blind-sided luck piece on the front page a couple of days after it initially ran. Yeah! Let's do it just a couple of days before the Texas game. Woo-hoo!

    The interview with Chip Brown was great. But enough is enough.

  • wvajoker

    I like Marshall, I just can not stand the trolls that come here and insult and belittle the Mountaineers. It is never a sad day to be a Mountaineer and I wll always be a Mountaineer not like some of the fair weather fans on here that always get down on WVU just because they lose a game or two. They are still my in State team. If they were in last place in the standings, I would wear my Gold and Blue (or maybe my black with the Flying WV that seems to bother some like the Four Jackasses that come on here braying their drivel). I would surely not belittle the Mountaineers in a place that the coaches and players could read. I would do more to encourage them so they would know the State is behind them so they would put forth more effort.
    I like to see Marshall win. It is good for the State of WV, but the Mountaineers is the team I support.

  • Hoffy

    I've got a bottom line here with Mr. Luck.
    Loyalty is predicated on money.
    Credibility is based on money.

  • Imgrill

    Can we send Larry and William to Texas? I can only laugh at thier ridiculous comments for so long, we should share their knowledge with the other schools, a tour maybe? One year at every D1,D2,D3,and Juco. Then you can come back and so we can laugh at you some more. I'll buy the one way bus ticket. :)

  • JB

    Ugly article Allen. You are better than that. Don't let your bias interfere with good reporting. We have enough of that in this country at the moment.

  • Old school

    Jonus, who did u want to replace him?

  • Jonus Grumby

    Bummer. I was looking forward to his departure.