MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With no bowl game on the holiday horizon, the agenda for West Virginia football has turned toward how to repair the program, and in particular the intertwined facets of recruiting and facilities.

The slumping Mountaineers are 4-7 and facing a two-week hiatus before the season finale against Iowa State, a game with all the allure of an intramural practice. With an eye toward 2014, Dana Holgorsen was asked Tuesday about the current recruiting class taking shape—one that features 15 commitments and might yet grow to the 25-signee maximum even though that number would put West Virginia over its 85-man scholarship limit.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Dana Holgorsen’s team fell to 4-7 with a 31-19 loss at Kansas, guaranteeing it will miss a bowl game this season.

Attrition could be the means of accommodating a full recruiting class.

“The depth is building. The numbers are getting right,” Holgorsen said. “You don’t want to lose guys, but the fact of the matter is that if guys don’t go to class, or if they fail out, or if they don’t do the right things socially and get kicked out, that happens when you’re dealing with 100 kids. More than likely we’re going to lose a couple for a variety of reasons.

“I’m comfortable with us being able to go out and get to 25, because we’re three-quarters of the way there right now.”

And what recruiting conversation would be complete without a mention of facilities, or in West Virginia’s case, a perceived lack thereof.

Given that WVU was coming off a loss to Kansas, the timing wasn’t great Tuesday for Holgorsen to complain about amenities. But in his defense, the question was asked, and his answer reiterated things the coach has said publicly for several months.

“There’s a list, and I don’t think I’m being unreasonable with the requests I’m asking for,” Holgorsen said. After waxing grateful for the recently remodeled weight room, he said the team meeting area (from which Holgosen’s news conferences originate) is insufficient, much like the indoor practice facility and outdoor practice field.

“You’ve got to be able to meet appropriately, which we can’t, and you’ve got to be able to practice appropriately, which we can’t,” he said. “So those (improvements) are where we’re headed.

“We’re working hard to get out there and raise the money we need to be able to make some of this stuff a reality.”

West Virginia’s football facilities, while by no means bleak, lag in comparison to its Big 12 opponents. Kansas, for instance, plays at not-so-impressive Memorial Stadium yet has two artificial turf practice fields adjacent to it.

Holgorsen said installing artificial turf on WVU’s grass practice field “would be awesome,” considering the Mountaineers currently utilize that practice field only “six times a year.”

“It’s about having a proper surface. If it’s real grass, that’s fine—as long as it holds up. Right now that grass can’t hold up. If you’re on it and it’s wet and you’re tearing it up, you can’t use it.”

Then there’s the issue of the Caperton Indoor Facility, constructed in 1998 for $9 million with new FieldTurf installed in 2006 for another $600,000. It features a 90-yard field, whereas six other Big 12 schools have full-length indoor surfaces. (The others that don’t: Baylor, Texas Tech and TCU.)

Asked if renovations would cure WVU’s indoor facility, Holgorsen said, “No, you’ve got to blow it up.” So why does he want to bring in the dynamite?

“You need runoff, you need proper length and if you want to do the kicking game in there you need (the roof) to be a little higher,” Holgorsen said. “It’s dysfunctional. We use it for some offseason stuff, but it needs to be more functional.”

Most practices currently take place at Mountaineer Field, which doesn’t sit well with Holgorsen in light of the new practice complex completed at his former school, Oklahoma State, or the larger complexes constructed by K-State in 1995 and Oklahoma in 2002.

“You shouldn’t have to practice on your game field,” he said. “Nobody else does.”

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  • .neil

    Don't buy TICKETS!!!!!

    • Jeremy

      YES!!! Please Neil (aka D-BAG) DONT BUY TICKETS! Ur not a fan. You only stick through good times.

  • ron "from morgantown"

    I thought this was a very interesting article and very informative . The question was asked (about facilities) and he answered , why the criticism ? I don't think he is blaming last weeks loss on Caperton when he gives his wish list of desirable capital improvements for the football program . "Blowing up " Caperton was an interesting comment and one that I support . It was built on the cheap and has never been fully utilized ( un like the privately funded bb practice facility , one of the best in the country ).If we build a new practice facility it should be multi purpose with seating for 3500 to 4000 . This would allow us to explore the possible expansion of hockey to D1 status . The coach mentioned recruiting and it looks like we are having a much better season off the field than on it . Its going to be one of the best classes in recent memory and is the best sign yet that the current staff (including the head coach ) has the program on course to compete in the B12.

    • Rick S.

      Division I ice hockey would be great, but I doubt if that will happen. The Big 12 does not sponsor ice hockey (inexplicably, it does not even sponsor men's soccer) and ice hockey is not real big in Texas, so I would not hold out much hope of that happening real soon.

      • Larry

        I almost watched a hockey game once, but then I remembered I had some grass I needed to watch grow.

        • Dan

          Aside from not making a valid point, that was just plain not funny

      • ron "from morgantown"

        D1 mens ice hockey has a huge upside . It is now getting more tv viewers in some markets than D1 basketball . Its especially popular with the 18 to 29 year old crowd . It would actually help grow the university population by attracting students from the northeast . We don't have to be in the B12 to compete in D1 mens hockey . We can join the NCHC ( Notre Dame is a member ) or join HOCKEY EAST .

        • Rick S.

          I'm with you, Ron. I would love to see Division I hockey here -- I think it is a great sport and I think you are spot on about attracting students from the northeast, as well as the upper midwest. It just seems to me that the athletic department has adopted a philosophy of maintaining the minimum amount of "minor" sports to remain compliant with NCAA and Big 12 mandates, while taking on more of a Big 12 regional aura. Further, adding another men's sport has Title IX implications (although I would like to see women's softball added, too).

          • Jim

            Hockey? Next they'll want a Curling Team. (Yawn)...Next!!!

    • Duane from Morgantown

      I couldn’t agree more. It seems hypocritical to say “don’t buy tickets.” We need money to upgrade everything. Facilities are one of the biggest reasons players choose certain schools. We want the best players we can get, but we don’t want to spend the money to get them. I don’t see the logic in that. Our fans think we belong with the upper echelon, but they want to act like it.

      • chris

        allow mountaineer coaches and players to purchase and drink the beer at the stadium during games...Now that might get some recruits and coaches would be more motivated. We play hockey here? lol

        • Greg

          Chris, thanks for making Ron's point. Finding numbskulls on this site is like shooting fish in a barrel.

    • Bob

      Hahah D1 hockey. WVU is a doormat in ACHA hockey league

  • Big Larry

    Go sell crazy somewhere else...

    • Greg

      Why, are they cutting into your territory?

  • Frank Boso

    Fire up the violins..................

  • polarbear

    Its an arms race in college football everyone knows that. If we want to be the best then our facilities must be on par with the best.

  • Medman

    This has gotten to the point of being ridiculous.

    • Pruntytown

      Welcome to college football. I agree it is ridiculous, but don't think this is a WVU or Holgerson problem. It is indictative of NCAA athletics as a whole.

      • jb


      • Big Dave

        Spot on.

  • GregG

    So let me get this straight, we need to blow up the indoor practice field that was built in 1998, but the fans are to pay to sit in an open stadium that was open in 1980. And with Lucks "no halftime pass outs" and the addition of more concession stands, fans can not even get to the restrooms.

    • eliotz

      If we don't upgrade the player facilities ASAP for recruiting purposes, we won't need fan facilities, because seasons like this one will fix the stadium problem quick.

    • MoMoney

      Exactly. Lets put some stadium seating in the stadium for fans. I'm tired of the metal bleachers and sitting beside some fat-ass that takes up half my seat.
      Lets have a couple of creature comforts for the fans before we start pouring money on the coach's wants.
      Maybe any facility improvements should be tied to the won-loss record. 4-8 or 5-7 does not merit any money spent on facilities.

      • Greg

        MoMoney, better seating would be a great idea. Unfortunately this is a problem shared by just about every college fan in America. I've been to games at The Swamp, Death Valley SC, Williams Brice, ECU, Lame Stadium, to name a few. All of these are considered to be among the best stadiums. All for the most part are dumps and you're packed in like sardines there too. Unfortunately these stadiums were built when people were smaller. The only thing they can do is take out seats on each row and I can't see that ever happening.

  • Big Larry

    It is no secret that the WVU football program under Luck and Holgorsen has fallen deep into the Abyss. Many of the fans have begun voicing their disapproval. Despite what some of the loyalists may think, you do not have to like it or approve of the way things are going. And no…facilities is not the priority right now…

    The best way to voice that displeasure isn’t by running to the Internet to call for the heads of Oliver Luck and Dana Holgorsen. No No No…The best way to show displeasure is to “STOP BUYING TICKETS”.

    • JimJim

      I didn't buy this year, now what is the next step?

    • GoEers

      Great call Big Larry...let's fire Olvier Luck for increasing revenues by over $35 million since he's been here. I mean most athletic departments or companies in America would fire someone for increasing revenues over 4x from when he first got here.

      And yes let's take your advice and fire the coach for one bad year. Marshall trolls like you are all alike. Get a life!

      • wvrefugee

        He has not done this. Entering into the new conference has lead to an increase in revenue but not to this extent as we are a partial member yet. Also, only reason Luck published these numbers in the middle of football season was to impress the Texas folks. Let's see what those numbers look like whenthe non-revenue sports are finished in May?????? FAIL!

        • Jim

          Sure he has! WVU didn't receive a "full share" of Big 12 revenues because they and TCU were new to the conference and both received a little "help" getting to the new conference. The share of revenues is not base upon records. It is split evenly and the share WV sees for 2013 is going to substantially higher than in 2012. Only a portion is used for athletics though and that's one of the reasons the Big 12 school's academics are so high and attract upper tier recruits.

        • stevewvu

          Those were a full year's worth of numbers. WVU is on a fiscal budget. I would explain to you what that means if I had more time. The short version is those #'s were from July 2012 to June 30 2013. Don't be mad because WVU finished in the black with only a portion of their full share.

          • wvrefugee

            Not sure I understand what a fiscal budget mean????? D Bag!

      • Mentalvoyeur

        I believe it is irrelevant what the revenue levels are when the overall objective is winning. Want to know what really attracts those recruits. It's not the facilities it's the opportunity to play for a winning team. Oregon has some ridiculous facilities but also has a winning record to pitch to the prospects first. We have always overestimated out abilities and it has gotten worse over the last ten years of playing in the big least. Now we are playing with the big boys and we are seeing what it's like in the majors. The football program needs to be built on fundamentals. And the highest priority fundamental is solid coaching. Luck sold us a dog and pony show from Oklahoma and now we are having some buyers remorse.

        • rekterx

          Oregon took off after Phil Knight started dumping big time dollars into their programs. Same with Oklahoma State and T. Boone Pickens. Which came first for those schools ... facilities or winning teams? Facilities. And ongoing development of facilities. Then came the winning teams.

          • Fan on the river

            Exactly- you don't get to pitch a winning program until you have some shiny new facilities to earn some winning recruits

    • Larry


  • BlueGoldDog

    Prior coaches did not have much of a problem recruiting and winning with the current facilities. This is always one of the excuses. They need to worry more about selling season tickets next year. I know I am thinking about not renewing. It is just not worth the money anymore.

    • eliotz

      You are joking right?

    • Pruntytown

      I object your honor. RR complained all the time about the facilities and the indoor practice facility was part of his "list of demands". Ultimately, the admin. let him leave without addressing these needs. Maybe history can repeat itself.

      • Marcus

        RR left for some of the best facilities in the country, you see how it turned out for Michigan!! RR wanted TOTAL CONTROL and left when he got told NO!! Like a little Kid!! No coach is bigger than the University, anyone can be replaced!!!

        • Marcus

          Doc, never had a problem recruiting players to WVU!!!

          • Allen

            Doc did have a problem getting his recruits to qualify at WVU.

      • Clark

        The problem then was that the administration was perfectly content with the status quo. That is one reason why Bill Stewart was hired. Had Luck been here when Rod was coaching, his wish list would have been granted. Most of it, anyway.

        Facitilites upgrades is a concern. It's a big recruiting tool. Now WVU has to decide whether it's going to try to run with the big dogs or stay on the porch.

        Now Dana is a different story.

        • Pruntytown

          Good point, Eddy P.

  • Seriously?

    “You shouldn’t have to practice on your game field,”. “Nobody else does.” this really a problem. Boy ole boy, would not want to mess up that sport turf at over a million dollars to install each time. And using it 6x during the year......WVU and the $tate get its money's worth out Mountaineer Field.

    We know that recruiting is all about the bling of the program and it is hard enough to recruit WVU, but come on man.....have to have a better excuse or lack of. Usually you ask for a "raise" after having a good season. Ask that other guy that took his football to UM when he didn't get his way and was winning..

    Good grief

  • WVcoal

    Thank goodness we are not going to a bowl so we can focus on more important things like practice facilities, uniform combinations, and the like.

  • WVWho

    Why do you need other turf practice fields besides your game field? I understand a full Indoor for inclement weather, but that shoud be the only other thing they need. Is the school willing to inject several million into a coach who may not be here after next year? At least it may help whoever comes next as well I suppose.

    • GoEers

      Do you live in a box? Every school in the country has other turf practice fields. You Marshall fans are just stupid and pathetic.

      • WVWho

        What's the point of more than 2 fields? (1 Indoor-1 Outdoor. ) Us the money that would go to a 3rd field in a better way, say athlete lounges, juice bars, or God forbid actually put more seats in the stadium. I bet a bigger stadium to play in wouldn't hurt recruiting. For the record I am neither a Marshall fan, or a WVU fan, but I make good money working in this part of town thus I get to hear all the dribble.

    • WVAtty

      You're not investing in Dana. You're investing in the future of WVU football. Any coach you bring in is going to have the same gripe. It's legitimate. You fair weather fans gripe about recruiting and then gripe when the coach suggests ways to improve recruiting. Talk out if both sides of your loud mouths. Just stupid.

      • eliotz

        Any coach worth the offer wouldn't come without the facilities we're talking about, much less the 5 star recruits we will need to stay off the bottom of the Big12.

      • Charleston,WV

        Agreed. Thanks for some sanity that is much needed. Go Eeeers!

  • Alum

    Oh, and Allan thanks for a nice piece of writing.

  • Alum

    Coach makes legitimate points about facilities. It seems to me that the indoor and outdoor practice fields need to rise to the top of the priority list.

    • Marcus

      Like I said Doc never had a problem recruiting players to WVU and he never used the excuse he needed better facilities!!

      • Jim

        Well, it wasn't really that difficult recruiting players to a big east team now was it? I'm not knocking the talent that did show up and very thankful they chose to play at WV, but now there's an opportunity to branch out further to find recruits (with higher ratings). In Texas, there are many high schools that have better facilities than most colleges. These schools attract parents who have kids with talent. These programs far exceed the AAA high schools in West By God Virginia. Again no disrespect. I'm from WV too.

      • GoEers

        yeah we heard you the first go paint half your face green and the other half white and get fired up for a Marshall victory over another team with a losing record

        • Marcus

          GoEers, if you would think outside of your box you would understand that the comment was geared twords Holgerson I"m a WVU Fan!!! Think before you speak, it would help!

    • Big Larry


      You are kidding...right?

      • GoEers

        Little Larry = Big Tool Bag Troll

        • Big Larry

          You Holgorsen and Luck sympathizers are all the same...

          Are you Democrats as well?

          • Greg

            Big Larry is a welfare bum who sits around all day in his doublewide watching Fox News Channel, smoking cigs, drinking beer and complaining about how the Latinos are taking all of our God-fearing American's jobs. All on our tax dollars no less!

          • Andy

            Well well...this explains A LOT.

          • John weaver

            I knew a stupid political cheap shot could not be avoided in a sports related thread.

      • Alum

        Not at all.

        And I'm also not kidding when I say you are the southside of a northbound donkey.

        • Big Dave


          • Florida Boy

            Marshall University is dumb.
            I just needed to throw that in there.
            Oh, by the way if we want to win we have to spend money, plain and simple. I also think the requests are reasonable by our coach. I think all these Fake WVU fans need to chill or deive to Huntington WV every saturday and see what sub par facilities are. Marshall University is dumb,

    • Pruntytown

      RR was screaming and complaining about it and I didn't hear any "fans" ripping him apart. Here tell, most are now wanting to roll out a red carpet all the way to Arizona. Problem is he and Rita would rather use it for toliet papar.

      • .neil

        don't buy tickets!!!!!!!

        • GoEers

          Neil you never bought tickets anyway. Quit being a troll.

        • Duane from Morgantown

          get off the bandwagon and stay off .neil! Did you start watching WVU football in 2005?

  • big tom

    so what's the big deal about practicing on your playing field??? that one reason has me scratching my head.

    and how did nehlen do with much much less and still play in the championship game?
    and how did RR win the sugar bowl, and fiesta bowl with much inferior facilities.
    dana is grasping at straws to throw the blame for our poor on field performance and sometimes his rather immature manner of coaching to our facilities.
    Many coaches have done more with less, sometimes dana just acts like a spoiled brat.
    Facilities won't help us beat schools like Kansas.... and if we were still in the big east, at least four teams would beat us dana, look in the mirror, maybe you';ll see some of our problems.

    • William

      Oliver Luck is the man for the job. He understand the bottom line and he is a realist -- like it or not --college football is not the same game as it was 10 years ago.

      Dana will turn things around -- give him another year, and by 2015 we will be a solid player in the Big 12. I think he even surprises some people next year. Yes, Kansas was bad -- and that may reflect on Dana--but I think he knows that and I think he will adjust.

      For those of your who don't want to support Dana's request for improvements; remember this -- Dana, like him or not, will not take anything with him when he leaves WVU. He will not rip up field turf and take it with him -- all improvements under Dana will stay @ WVU just like improvements we gained under Coach Stew, Rich Fraud, and Coah Nehlen and those before.......