MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia fans peeved over the dearth of tickets for Tuesday’s NIT game at Georgetown can find another griping point when tuning into ESPN’s broadcast: Dan Dakich is doing color commentary.

“I catch hell all the time from a variety of fan bases, one of which is West Virginia,” Dakich said during a good-natured phone call Monday afternoon. “I totally get it. I understand.”

And he gets why Mountaineer Nation might be more inflamed than others.

He was WVU’s basketball coach for all of eight days in 2002, before a close-up view of the program’s obstacles had him returning to Bowling Green. Out of coaching and into broadcasting since 2008, Dakich’s polarizing opinions have flowed freely. He infamously tweeted last year that West Virginia would be celebrating two national titles had he stayed.

“When people come firing at me, generally my policy is not a smart one … but I figure out how to fire back,” he said. “I understand that people on Twitter are generally 18- to 25-year-olds that don’t know their ass from third base, I get that. But still, it’s sometimes fun to fire back at them.

“Instead of just sitting there and taking it, you kind of figure what will stick it back to these people where there will be no response. And you can’t really respond to something as stupid as saying we would have already won two national championships.”

Even more infamous than his chain-jerking tweet were Dakich’s assertions to writer Pete Thamel for a 2012 New York Times piece on former Mountaineer player-turned-drug-felon Jonathan Hargett. An article in which Dakich recalled his brief stay at WVU and claimed to find “a culture of dishonesty” that extended all the way up to then-president David Hardesty. Dakich said he and his then-wife met with Hardesty to spotlight Hargett being promised $60,000 to play for the Mountaineers, and he recalled the president warning, “If you go any further with this, we’ll destroy you.”

At the time of the article Hardesty denied making the threat, though being 10 years removed from the conversation he couldn’t recall the precise exchange. Two years even further along, on the eve of Dakich working courtside at WVU-Georgetown, the ex-coach labeled the episode “a dead issue.” Though not-so-dead that Dakich would decline a chance to reiterate his claim.

“I know Hardesty told Pete (Thamel) he was going to lawyer up, but there was no chance he was going to get lawyers, because he would not have had the truth on his side,” Dakich said. “What Hardesty says or anybody else says doesn’t make any difference to me or my ex-wife, because we were there. We know exactly what happened.

“We understand that people need to cover their back sides and talk big and all that kind of stuff. But when Hardesty told Pete that he was going to lawyer up, my first response was, ‘Let’s go. That would be fun. Let’s do it.'”

That quote seems to sum up Dakich’s Myers Briggs makeup: always frank, typically unrelenting and occasionally combative. He’s glad he no longer copes with the physical maladies that followed his worst nights as a coach—”I can’t handle losing,” he admitted. There’s less second-guessing when it comes to providing game commentary or working the mic at his daily ESPN radio show.

“I figure ESPN hired me because I do have an opinion … and I think it’s an informed opinion,” he said.

His opinion regarding Tuesday night’s matchup?

“It’s who wants to be there. I went down to Miami (for an NIT broadcast) a couple years ago and they no more wanted to be in that game than the man in the moon. And neither did their fans, so they got beat.

“I know this: We’ll figure out within five minutes of the game who’s going to win the game. just base on who wants to be there and who doesn’t. You can tell that pretty quickly.”

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Comments

  • Shamus

    I liked the story ESPN did on the Big East until the part where WV entered the conference. They played the banjos, showed a shack in the woods, and people dancing barefoot with no shirts. One reporter stated who wants to go to Morgantown, WV. We need to change the image of the state. There are people around the country that really think the people of WV are uneducated, backwoods, dirt poor, inbreeds. People actually think you attend family reunions to meet women.

  • J

    Third base? Why is he talking about baseball when the focus is basketball?

  • Aaron

    After listening to last nights game, while he was no Jay Jacob's, I thought Dackich did a reasonable job of commenting on the game.

    Of not, when Mike Patrick commented on discussing the future of WV basketball, Dackich stated that if the players were willing to listen to Coach Huggins and do what he and his coaching staff tell them to do, they would improve.

    I couldn't agree more.

  • clair

    Yes Beilein is a great coach and an equal Human Being.

  • TB

    Stop with all of the gushing over Beilein. He bolted prior to the end of his contract and won the NIT - not necessarily the panacea of basketball.

  • don62

    Thank god I can turn the sound off on ESPN and listen to Tony C. He 5 times the broadcaster dumb-a Dakich will ever be. Whats a matter ESPN you gotta use the scrubs when you broadcast the EER'S

  • Gary Greene

    Mountaineer fans have rejoiced that Mr. Dakich had such a short stay. And good luck to a quality coach and better person - all the best John Beilein!

  • WVcoal

    I'm glad Dakich bailed on WV -- his backstabbing led us to get one of WVU's greatest coaches -- John Beilein. Let's face it Beilein ressurected WVU's basketball program. Huggins is the perfect fit for WVU now, he improving on what Beilein started.

  • steve

    Here's whats missing-Gale Catlett quit on the team on the season in question. So that begs the question-who offered the money?

  • jay zoom

    wait until next year the same town criers will be posting. THANKS OLLIE

  • The Answer

    " I can't handle losing". Why does he worry about losing if he is self proclaimed that good of a coach.

    • Gary Greene

      Good one.

  • Steve

    Booooooooooooo! I'm telling you that ESPN has a score to settle with WVU(in their eyes at least). Did anyone watch the 30 for 30 Sunday night about the Big East? They played dueling banjos and showed people dancing barefoot on a wooden porch while talking about WVU being admitted to the conference.

  • Rick55

    I could think of lots of mean ditties to rhyme with Dakich but I'll refrain because I'm also not in the 18 to 25 range. Didn't Dakich ask for a higher contract at WVU in addition to being shocked, shocked I tell you, at the corruption? What's that salary demand made before or after he rooted out this stain? I'm also sure that those Indiana teams were squeaky clean! I'll give him credit for his academic management of the 4 year players even though the majority of players took coursework which was hardly rigorous. As for his winning so much as assistant at IU, that may have had less to do with him than the fact that the Head Coach was a guy named...well... you know.
    The fact that he has the third most wins as coach at Bowling Green is like kissing your sister. You're kissing but it's still your sister. When you look at the record itself, its really not all that. What is it with ESPN? Do they do this stuff on purpose?

    • pc

      He was sooooo successful as a head coach at Bowling Green that when he was fired/quit, the school had never made it to the "big dance" during his tenure. Note that BG is one of the few D-1 teams whose absence from the NCAA tournament is even longer than Marshall's. To sum him up, nothing says more than the fact that the correct pronunciation of his last name rhymes with "jock itch". His eight day tenure as the head coach at WVU is nothing but a brief inconsequential blip in the grand scheme of things, and that apparently still eats at the man to this day!

  • Aaron

    I remember when they hired Dakich asking "why." I had read the rumors of a potential coach from the A-10. The 2nd best thing that happened to WVU Basketball in the past 20 years is Dakich quitting.

    If he were the coach he thinks he is, he'd still be in the game, winning somewhere. The fact that he's an announcer for ESPN relegated to the NIT speaks volumes.

    • Mister Man

      Aight Aaron!! Good post!

    • Aaron

      Thank you for the attention? I appreciate the following. : )

    • mad hatter

      I remember when Aaron post asking "why"? I have read the BS he post and the 2nd best thing that comes to mind is that I need to remember to flush.

      If he were the poster he thinks he is, he'd be a writer for NYT. Fact is, he's either unemployed or relegated to thinking that he knows what he's talking about whereas he is clueless and speaks with a high volume.

      Priceless!

      • Mister Man

        Aight. Another post that makes no sense.

      • Alter E. Go

        Please, allow young Aaron the opportunity to speak and share his vast wisdom and knowledge with us all. Let us feast upon the nectar of his intellect and experience. May we all relish drinking from the watering can of his universal expansive capabilities. Come forth, young Aaron and allow us to serve you oh ye mighty warrior!

        • Mister Man

          Watering can? Universal expansive capabilities? LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Try again!

      • Beaver Sniffer

        Wow...you two need to get a room.

  • wvrefugee

    He doesn't know a basketball from a beach ball!