MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —West Virginia University athletics director Oliver Luck has opted not to renew wrestling coach Craig Turnbull’s contract next season.

Turnbull, the seventh-winningest active coach in the NCAA with 287 dual meet victories, was a four-time Eastern Wrestling League coach of the year who oversaw five individual national champions, 26 of the program’s 29 All-Americans, 42 EWL champions and more than 160 NCAA championships qualifiers.

Luck said a national search for a new wrestling coach at WVU will begin immediately.

“Craig has spent the last 36 years as the head of the Mountaineer wrestling program, and we appreciate his many years of service to West Virginia University,” Luck said. “He took over at the helm of the WVU wrestling program in 1979 after serving as an assistant coach here under Frank Liechti, coaching hundreds of Mountaineer wrestlers along the way. We wish him the best.”

Turnbull guided the Mountaineers to a 287-214-9 career record. This season, the Mountaineers finished 11-7 overall record and 0-3 in the Big 12.

His teams enjoyed a pinnacle in the 1990 and 1991 seasons, combining for a 25-6 record and winning back-to-back EWL dual meet crowns. The Mountaineers finished sixth at the 1991 NCAA championships and in eighth place at the 1991 national dual meet championships. That stretch was highlighted by Scott Collins winning the 142-pound national championship and Mark Banks earning back-to-back All-American honors.

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  • Jimmy Slade

    I would think WVU is in a very good position to land a coach with a lot of prestige and with a world wide name recognition --- and the man for the job is Terry Gene Bollea.

    He is getting older and needs a change. He is also divorced now and his age is not allowing him to wrestle himself as he once did. I say we go straight for Terry Bollea !! Bring Hulkamania to Morgantown !!!!

  • cutty77

    36 years is long enough for anybody at the same job.It was time for a change.plain and simple.

    • Renee

      Facts are not true. Wrestling coach was fired. Oliver Luck words from his mouth was Craig your to old and your fired. Nothing about a contract. See WVU was this new thing now at age 58 years and older they will either fire you or eliminate your position. So who is next? Basketball coach Huggins, or football coach Hogerson.

  • Alex

    Mr. Luck is doing the job he was brought here to's time to get off the porch if we intend to play with the big boys.... It's called progress moving forward looking into the future..... It's a shame a lot of you don't have no sense of direction when it comes to sports and sports programs..... You young people who get on here don't understand what is happening now.... 25----30 years from now it might soak in.... Just learn to live with it and be patient..... Sorry there is no vaccine or stupidity.....

    • Ragweed

      I was thinking the same thing Alex..... about the stupidity part. You have your share.

      Admit it. (l)uck is a scumback when it comes to decency. You talk about direction in sports and sports programs. What does this unclassy act by luck show our young people? It shows that how you treat people doesn't matter. It shows nothing about how to treat people. It shows that the real important things in life are sports programs and that is all.

      The sooner WVU gets rid of luck the better. Maybe then we'll have a classy program.

  • Clark

    Olloe you blew it ! Just cause you didn't get the Texas job doesn't mean you should take it out on the University.

  • Jim N Charleston

    We need to go after a good wrestling manager. If we can get a guy like a young Bobby "the Brain" Heenan or the next "Classy" Freddie Blassie, WVU can have Championship Gold before the Big XII knows it.

    So what's the Big XII gonna do when Oliver Luck hires the next Bobby the Brain and Mountaineer Mania runs wild on them? Or something like that. Or maybe hire Stone Cold Steve Austin, he's retired & looking for work in films. Or maybe hire Kurt Angle, he's got some local roots with both Olympic & Championship Gold

    I'm Jim N So Charleston

  • Wrestling Fan

    Big day for WVU wrestling. These boys deserve some studs wrestling on the mat with them and a coach who cares about them. Ding dong the witch is dead!!! The wrestlers are very happy today. Trust this. Now bring on some young coaches that will breathe new life into the program!!

  • Justin

    About time! And of course he was the seventh-winningest active head coach; win half your matches for 36 seasons and you're bound to climb the list. If he cared about WVU wrestling, he would have retired long ago. He should have been fired when he chose not to recruit descent 125-pounders so his worthless son could have the spot!

  • Ryan

    The hyperbole by some on here is hilarious. Luck is destroying the athletic department?

    Oh no! He rearranged seating at the Coliseum to maximize revenues! What a dope!

    The sooner some of you rid yourselves of your myopic view of college athletics and realize the AD is run like a BUSINESS, the less grumpy you'll be about the necessary changes being made.

    Wrestling program was beyond stale, it was time.

    • TW EAGLE

      change wrestling to basketball , and your comments make actual dollar sense to the WVU athletic department . . . Coach Turnbull has had more consistent success FOR WVU than Huggins has had ANYWHER ! ! !

      and Craig Turnbull has NEVER been suspended or fired (cincy) for deportment that has impacted badly on the university . . .
      Coach Turnbull hasn't been in a drunken brawl in Vegas, fallen down the steps of an airplane drunk (both while representing WVU)
      or otherwise brought anything but respect and winning to the WVU wrestling program . . . if the wrestling program is "stale" the basketball program is DEAD ! ! !

      • Charles

        TW, your comments are always unbelievable and totally wrong.

      • richard

        TW EAGLE has as much sense a stupid ox. thats giving him more credit than he deserves.

  • John

    Don't like to sound cold but only friends and family usually attend the wrestling matches. Coach Turnbull is a fine man who has represented WVU well but this is really a non-event for 99% of the athletic department. Luck was hired to make decisions and he is doing just that.

    • Rick

      Couldn't agree more John, that is why you need to get a coach in there to make a difference. It will never draw the crowds of football or basketball, but it can be a viable sport at WVU.

  • Rick

    Jerry must not know anything about the sport of wrestling and probably wants Don Nehlen and Gale Catlett back.

    Let's just keep the guy another 36 years...any REAL fan of the sport of wrestling knows that this program has been in a state of decline for years. The only thing keeping it afloat has been the assistant coaches( see Greg Jones, Zeke Jones, Nate Carr).

    I applaud Turnbull's career but a change was needed. He has let the best in-state talent leave and be successful at other Div. 1 programs and this program has not kept up with smaller Universities/Colleges in this area in spite of having BEST facilities bar-none in the Mid-Atlantic region.

    Hopefully, the search will bring in the right man for the job.

  • George

    First phone call would be to Zeke Jones.

  • JL

    36 years and out. Mike Parsons 36 years and out. They can't cut it anymore. What about Holgorsen. Better yet, what about Huggins? Talk about a declining coach! $3,000,000 a year and a $25K kick for beating a CONFERENCE opponent. WVU is both irrelevant and a joke. The common denominator is Oliver Luck.

    • Aaron

      You can think that but you have no idea the conversations that go on behind the scenes. I would imagine that if the basketball program continues on it's current trajectory, Luck will address the issue.

      • Barry

        I knew you wouldn't miss an opportunity to defend Luck. If anything you are consistent.

        • Aaron

          I thought I took every opportunity to defend Huggins.

          At times Barry you can be thought provoking and intelligent. Other times, for lack of a better word you're a b****

          Your comment above is not an example of the first.

          • GoEers

            You must forgive Barry. It's been a tough week for him. First there was the announcement that Oliver Luck put together a $106 million plan in capital expenditures for improving WVU's athletic facilities, and then last night there was a tweet that Juwan Staten would be foregoing the NBA Draft and playing his final year at WVU. Barry is totally against an AD that has a strategic plan, and he is certainly not happy that WVU will have some stability entering 2014-2015 bball season.

        • cutty77

          That I am.Oliver delivers. Is he always right no. But we are lucky to be where we are.Most WVU Fans are stuck in The 70's.

          • Aaron

            I'm pretty sure I was the target of Barry's petty comment.

      • cutty77

        Luck put a walk away clause in Huggs new contract for 2015. If he Huggs doesn't take it,i'm sure Oliver will show him the way. Nobody has lifetime Jobs anymore.


    I understand your immediate angst at OL but look, his program is not successful anymore. He has had 36 years at WVU and he should be commended, but as for me, I appreciate an athletic director that has enough cahones to try to improve his department if it's not working. I see absolutely nothing with OL not renewing coach Turnbull's contract.

    • wvrefugee

      Actually, my angst has been here since the Luck experiment came to town!! I think this was bound to happen BUT Luck has fired nearly everyone and we have absolutely nothing but failure to show for it.!

    • TW EAGLE

      and the BB program is so,so flucking SUCCESSFUL . . . are you related to Huggins or just plain blind or stupid . . .

      and the way to handle this would have been to let Coach Turnbull retire . . .

      I at first welcomed Mr Luck hire as the new AD . . . rooting out the long existing 'good ole boy' network . . . I didn't understand most of his decisions , but I guessed they must be in the best interest of WVU and the fans who support the athletic program . . . AND THEN he threw out the long standing fans at the coliseum to chase $$$ ? how do you keep long term finance viable if you throw out your long standing supporters ? the newbies bring more cash ? sure , but the newbies will disappear in a flash , unlike actual fans who follow the WVU program , not just the flavor of the day . . .
      and now this ? you got TWO strikes now in my book Mr Luck . . . you don't seem to be working in the best interest of WVU and its loyal fanbase . . . I'm beginning to think you're just replacing JR with yourself at the helm of the new 'good ole boys' network. . .

      • Charles

        Turnbull wasn't fired. His contract wasn't renewed. After 36 years and barely a .500 record, it's time for someone new.

      • scott

        tw beagle...did huggins run you over with a car at some point?

        and another thing....who cares about your book?

      • rock solid

        I feel sure Turnbull had every opportunity to retire but refused. Just another example of why WVa languished in mediocrity in sports for years. The good old boys were just comfortable in their jobs and were beyond caring about winning, just wanted an easy ride. I.e. Cattlet, Eddie Pastalong, Stewart, Turnbull. Nice to have someone like Ollie who is willing to make some tough decisions that will help make us competitive in ANY league. Now if we could just get rid of the rest of the losers who post how Oliver is ruining WVU athletics, This website, and the state would be so much further ahead if all of you would just move, but who in the world would want you?


    farewell trusty warrior . . .

    you're looking in the wrong direction Mr Luck . . . either in looking to improve the
    athletics programs or save money on salaries . . .

    this is a sad & bad day for WVU athletics . . .

  • Jerry

    Another move by OL. The only positive this is recognizable of his moves is Coach Randy With baseball. Is the board going to allow him to completely distory the athletic program?

    • Billy

      They already have.

      • guy anonymous

        I was an athlete for him started all my 4 years at wvu for him and I cannot be hapier... only one wvu alumni mike mason actually liked turnbull and showed loyalty ...the rest of us for the last ten or so years are glad this day has happned....

        • TommyO

          I normally don't write on these things, but seeing some of the posts I think it's time for someone to post their thoughts about Coach Turnbull and what he has done for WVU wrestling. As a former WVU wrestler I am saddened by the release of Coach Turnbull. First and foremost he is a good man. WVU wrestling and many young men are better people today because of his hard work and dedication. The wrestling program has had its difficulties over resent years but his loyalty and passion for WVU wrestling and the university has always remained intactic. Something very rare in today's society. He built a program literally from the ground up. A victim of his own success. I remember as a young boy my dad bringing us to Morgantown and watching wrestling practice in Stansbury Hall. Snow would blow underneath the door onto the mats! I also remember the entire team sleeping downstairs at my parents house for the Great Lakes Open (badass tournament) because they didn't have the budget to stay in a hotel when he first took over the program. Coach Turnbull has brought this program a long way. His highlighted years were in the early to mid 90's. 1991 WVU finished 6th in the nation and it's first national champion Scott Collins. Many people also don't know that Turnbull was a very strong candidate for the Penn State coaching position in the mid 90's but loyalty to his family and WVU kept him in Morgantown. His father was a professor at PSU branch campus Behrend (Erie, PA) where a building is named after him Turnbull Hall. The most turbulant time of his tenure seems to be the years his son Kyle wrestled for WVU. Not knowing all the details I will simply say 'What father is not loyal to his son?' Like it or not anyone of us would be found guilty by being partial to our own flesh and blood. By the way, Kyle was a 2X WV state champion and Jr. National finalist in Fargo (not some scrub kid off the street). Whether you are a fan of Turnbull or not, he created a great foundation for wrestling at WVU. To those of us who he gave an opportunity to chase our dreams of being a National Champion or All American I want to thank you. Thank you for believing in us and making us Mountaineers for life.

          On a side note: We are wrestlers, not glory hound bitches. We don't wrestle for public recognition. We wrestle for self pride and the respect for those within our wrestling community. To those outside WVU wrestling looking at this post, take two things away from this: 1st: Coach Turnbull is good man and deserves to be treated with respect and dignity for his 36 years of loyalty and hard work. 2nd: Whoever Luck hires support the coach and the kids. THEY ARE THE HARDEST WORKING ATHLETES ON CAMPUS! Most of the other athletes on campus will agree.

          • Robert Hickman

            Well stated.

          • anon

            Some of this is true and he does deserve credit for building it from stansbury to where it is now ...but too many shady things happened that made no one trust ,believe and .. .. like him ... hard to recover from that ....we all do love motown, wvu and being a mountaineer ....thats for sure .I do wish the best for the future....

        • Aaron

          While I don't doubt you sincerity and I'm not some ticked off at Oliver Luck deranged person, I do wonder if so many wrestlers disliked him, why did you come to WVU to his program?

          • Aaron

            Perhaps they should inquire into Mr. Jones availability.

          • anonymous again

            Zeke jones...

        • TW EAGLE

          YEAH , and I wrestled for him for 100 years and worship the ground he walks on . . .

          • anon

            Hahahahahahahahaha well his knees are so messed up u musta been moving verrrrrry slow in worshiping that ground , he was fast on the stair stepper tho....funny i never saw u trailing him?

      • TW EAGLE

        luck is probably hoping the mayor of Toronto doesn't get re-elected . . . he can add a crack head to his two drunks as a head coach of mens athletic programs . . .

        if Hammond fails to win next year , will his head be on the chopping block . . .