MORGANTOWN -- Oliver Luck was able to attend only one of the Big East Conference's spring meetings as West Virginia's athletic director, who came on board in June 2010.
What he knew from that get together and similar assemblies during the year was different from what he experienced earlier this week at WVU's first Big 12 Conference meeting in Phoenix.
"We weren't focused on negatives," Luck said Thursday as he headed to Parkersburg for the next Mountaineer Athletic Club Coaches Caravan stop. "It was all, 'How can we make the conference stronger?' "
Big East gatherings had grown to have a different mood in recent years as the league tried to keep pace or catch up with fellow conferences. There were overarching themes about preserving the membership and how to present the best situation possible, but there were always worries about losing schools and adding quality as opposed to just quantity.
The Big 12 is in a different place. Missouri and Texas A&M are off to the Southeastern Conference, this on the heels of losing Nebraska to the Big Ten and Colorado to the Pacific-12 Conference, but it's a better situation than it had been. WVU and Texas Christian University join July 1.
The Big 12 is even adding parts.
Stanford Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby was named the league's commissioner and replace interim commissioner Chuck Neinas. Luck, of course, knows Bowlsby quite well. Luck's son, Andrew, played quarterback for the Cardinal and last week was the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. Luck's daughter, Mary Ellen, plays volleyball at the school.
"I got to know him really well through the years and think he's very smart and very sharp," said Luck, whose name was connected the top commissioner position. "He's very well-respected around the country and Stanford has always had fantastic Olympic sports programs, but his decision to hire Jim Harbaugh (as the football coach in December 2006) was nothing short of brilliant.
"I think we're in a great position moving forward."
Luck was joined in Phoenix by football Coach Dana Holgorsen and basketball Coach Bob Huggins. The three attended an alumni function together with about 70 people Tuesday night.
The rest of the time was devoted to getting to know the Big 12's membership, history and issues. The Mountaineers were active, though attentive participants.
"There are enough connections, I think, between our folks and the Big 12 that it was very comfortable," Luck said. "Whether that's Dana or Huggs or me just knowing that part of the world having graduated from the University of Texas (law school) or having known (Texas athletic director) DeLoss Dodds for a long time, they've given us every bit of respect.