MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Morgantown businessman John Raese has sent a letter to new West Virginia University president E. Gordon Gee critical of the recent termination of long-time wrestling coach Craig Turnbull by athletics director Oliver Luck.

MORE: Read Raese’s letter to Gee here.

In newspaper articles after the firing, Turnbull contended Luck said he “was too old to coach.” Turnbull was told to turn in his keys along with his cell phone and was informed that he was not allowed to return to the facility when he was fired in March.

In his letter to the new WVU president, Raese outlined what he said was a series of legal and ethical missteps by Luck going back to the 1990 election when Luck was a candidate for the House of Representatives.

Raese is chairman of West Virginia Radio Corporation, which is currently in a legal dispute with the university and several other defendants regarding the multi-media rights contract awarded to IMG College, irregularities in the WVU procurement procedure and a series of multi-million scoreboard contracts that were secured without bids.

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  • Aaron

    The one question I would ask of Mr. R and Metro News is this.

    If the goal is to 'warn' Dr. Gee not to 'stick his neck out' in regards to Oliver Luck and Mr. R truly only wants what is best for his alma matter, WVU, then why make this letter public?

    While I expect no answer, I do wonder what the motivation is in publicizing this correspondence.

  • Joe

    And his letter focuses on Turnbull as an individual.... How about all the individuals that come through the program and are slighted based on Turnbull selfishly running the program to the benefit of only his agenda.

    Performance... If you are looking for lack of performance for reasoning for firing, that is most certainly there. WVU has access to the most fertile wrestling g recruiting grounds in the nation and with the coach will also get the pick of any top talent out of state of WVU. Facilities are certainly that of a top10 program nationally, but the program leadership (Turnbull) has not been.

    With the right coach WVU Wrestling with be a great source of pride for the state. Look at what a change in baseball program has done so quickly. Mind you, WVU baseball does have a great coach but lacks the...... History of past success, Facilities and recruiting grounds that WVU Wrestling has in place...

  • Joe

    JR will look for any reason possible to jump on luck and WVU I guess. So many alumni will part of their estate to the school, but glad to see to JR he only cares about what he can get from WVU. Disgusting

  • Charles

    Same old stuff from John Raese. We've heard it all before. His letter was just an excuse to get more publicity. We can all agree that Craig Turnbull was a good person, but in 36 years as the wrestling coach barely was over .500. it's time for a change. I guess JR will never get over losing the 3rd tier rights for WVU. Just ignore him and move on.

    • Charles

      Apparently JR's ego is too frail to allow anybody to criticize him on this forum.

      • Charles

        Go read the letter. First two paragraphs mention Turnbull and one sentence in the last paragraph. The rest is the same old garbage.

  • VaultHunter

    Is WV Metro News reporting this for any particular reason?? Can anybody figure out what that reason might be?

    I went to school with a William he smelled funny and pooped his pants once in 5th grade....chances are its the same William.

  • El Supremo

    Journalists are extinct. In today’s media there are not any ethics or fact checking. If the employees of WV Radio Corp. as well as Metro News had saleable skills, they would be long gone for greener pastures. They have no choice but to be “Yes Men and Women” and march to the Raese beat. After losing two elections, all Raese wants is to see his name in the paper, and believe those that work for him, actually agree with him. They realize a “no” would result in not any paycheck.

    It is what it is—and if you can’t see through it—your experience in big business is lacking.

  • cutty77

    JR has to keep attacking WVU and Oliver. JR is like a jilted lover.JR has become a Very Desperate Man. Very Sad.

  • JL

    There are much better AD's out there - available to WVU - than Oliver Luck. Better equipped to take the program into this new era. ow about Robbie Mullins at Oregon? Luck has crafted the worst contracts anywhere in college sports for a coach in clear decline and another who was untested and is now in full fledged failure. You can attack John Raese all you want, but I give him credit for being strong enough to stand up and say that firing Craig Turnbull, and Bill Stewart for that matter, was wrong. That signing one-sided unfavorable deals with the head football and basketball coaches were beyond stupid and just plain incompetent. This university has been in a tailspin since Mike Garrison, the phony MBA mess, the $5,000,000 scoreboard theft and the $5,000,000 loss on the West Virginia Media loan. Now if Holgorsen is fired we pay him over $8 million to leave. WVU needs all the extra money - not to compete in the Big 12 - but to pay for Oliver's miscues and screw-ups.

    • Aaron

      I don't like to speak ill of the deceased but wasn't Bill Stewart's early dismissal his own doing? Granted, Luck should have just fired him instead of trying to be nice and allow him to hang around for one more year but that doesn't change the fact that Stewart was the one who went to a reporter and requested aid in digging up dirt on Holgorsen to get him out of here. I don't know about you but in my humble opinion, that's not exactly great leadership.

  • ole sasquatch

    I liked WV. Metro on sports one heck of a lot better than IMG. IMG is artificial and has no Mountaineer Spirit and they advertise way too much. Bring back the Hoppy man and team that hold the real Mountain Spirit!

    • Aaron

      Wasn't Metro News offered a chance to continue their relationship with WVU through IMG?

  • jim

    This is absurd. I feel bad that MetroNews is forced to print this garbage, because Raese owns the company.

    Think about it people, is a successful business man and lawyer like Luck going to openly say "you're too old" when firing someone, knowing that it all but locks up a discrimination suit? Even if Turnbull's age was the primary issue, which I don't believe it is, Luck is certainly not going to set the university up like that.

    As for "leaving for Texas," who the hell wouldn't??? Texas is probably one of the top 2-3 AD positions in the country.

    Let Raese jump up and down and cry about the media rights deal. Fact of the matter is he didn't even enter a bid the second time around, and the first bid he put in was laughable at best. I guess he just accidentally forgot to mention that in his nutjob tirade.

    For a guy that claims to want to help the university, Raese does one hell of a job of trying to tear it down and prevent progress.


  • jay zoom

    at the end of the day. -- Luck blew it on this one. Coach Turnbull deserved a better fate than what Luck gave him. maybe Mr. money hungry Oliver Luck could dismiss a football or basketball player or any other athlete at WVU for not performing up to expectations when he or she was recruited to come to WVU and give their scholarship to a someone else. Luck will erase the best at WVU but will applaud the coming of alleged criminals to the WVU family, -- Wake up Mountaineer faithful this jerk needs to be ridden out of town. and if one and done huggins doesn't produce in 2014 and if wait until next year Holgerson doesn't either send all three of them down the road because remember WVU is not a home for losers but it seems we have 3 of them and are recruiting a few more.

  • wvjoker

    Why would any true Mountaineer fan ever support
    Bob "Sweatsuit" Huggins
    Dana "The Man in Black" Holgerson
    Oliver "Money Man" Luck

    It is just something that "Bull Crap" william in his green monkey costume would just not understand.

  • WrongWayCorgan

    Raese - "wahhhhhhhhhhhhhh *sniffle sniffle* wahhhhhhhhhh"

    Give it a rest. Go away.

  • James

    Oliver Luck has made a mess of every major action in recent years (Re: Coach Stewart, Big 12 negotiation, Coach Turnbull, alcohol sales, and even his own attempted desertion to Texas.) Luck must go!

    • Aaron

      Coach Stewart should have never been hired and it is his tenure as much as anything else that has the football program in the state it is in.

      Were it not for the Big 12, WV would be languishing in the AAC with slim hopes of becoming a member of a power conference and the revenue that comes with it.

      I don't know Coach Turnbull but when the decision was announced that his contract was not going to be renewed, former wrestlers applauded the decision. That's speaks volumes.

      As to the stadium beer sales, that was a smart move with the elimination of pass outs. It somewhat placated fans while at the same time generated a revenue stream and eliminated a tremendous liability by allowing fans to come and go freely, consuming lord knows how much alcohol in the parking lots.

      He didn't attempt to desert to Texas. He interviewed for one of the most prestigious jobs in America. It should be noted that he holds ties to that institution AND it could have quadrupled his salary. Were he looking to desert WVU, he would have talked to Stanford last year.

      And to those who will accuse me of defending Luck, all I'm doing is presenting facts.