www.charlestondailymail.com WVU Sports http://www.charlestondailymail.com Daily Mail feed en-us Copyright 2014, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers WVU BASKETBALL: Mountaineer women at No. 21 in AP Top 25 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141222/DM03/141229810 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141222/DM03/141229810 Mon, 22 Dec 2014 19:45:51 -0500


CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Coach Mike Carey's West Virginia University women's basketball team moved up one spot to No. 21 in the Associated Press Top 25, released on Monday.

The Mountaineers (9-2) suffered a 96-54 loss at Ohio State on Monday.

West Virginia has two players averaging double figures, led by Bria Holmes at 22.4 points per game followed by Averee Fields at 16.2 points.

The Mountaineers are off until 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 29 when they play host to St. Francis (Pa.).

WVU BASKETBALL: Mountaineer men move up in rankings http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141222/DM03/141229811 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141222/DM03/141229811 Mon, 22 Dec 2014 19:43:00 -0500


CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia University men's basketball team moved up four spots to No. 18 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and three positions to No. 17 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll, released on Monday.

The Mountaineers (10-1), who face Virginia Tech at the WVU Coliseum on Dec. 30, are led by Big 12 preseason player of the year Juwan Staten, who averages 15.8 points, 4.3 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game. Through 11 games, coach Bob Huggins' team is giving up just 62.6 points per contest while averaging 78.8.

Unbeaten Kentucky continued to hold down the top spot as one of nine unbeaten teams in the AP Top 25 and one of eight in the USA Today Poll.

WVU BASKETBALL: 'Really good' Wofford visits after Mountaineers' successful trip to the Garden http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141221/DM03/141229875 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141221/DM03/141229875 Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:46:23 -0500 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - There's a belief around college basketball, one that's probably more commonly accepted on campuses with a ranked team, which suggests what awaits No. 22 West Virginia on Monday night shouldn't be too difficult.

Two days after beating North Carolina State, 83-69, in the Gotham Classic at Madison Square Garden, the Mountaineers would seem to downshift from a nine-win ACC team fit for a nationally televised neutral-site occasion to a home game against a visitor from the Big South Conference. It looks like the sort of pre-holiday treat that carries a team through a long winter's nap, and indeed WVU (10-1) won't play again until it gets a visit from Virginia Tech Dec. 30.

There's just one problem with that premise.

"Wofford's good - I mean, really good," said WVU coach Bob Huggins, who became the 14th Division I coach to reach 750 career wins. "N.C. State had them down eight with (three) minutes to go, but they kept their poise, kept playing and ended up winning the game. They're good."

The Terriers (9-2), who won their conference tournament championship last season and have just about everyone back this season, trailed the Wolfpack 52-44 with 3:46 to go, but won the game 55-54 when a N.C. State 3-pointer at the buzzer was waved off after a review. Wofford comes to the Coliseum (7:30 p.m., WOWK in Charleston) with a four-game winning streak.

The Mountaineers had an easier time against the Wolfpack (9-3) and led for the final 27:35 of the game and for 31:37 overall. They shot a season-high 53.4 percent and received 53 points from the starting lineup and 30 points from four reserves who each played at least 15 minutes.

"I'd say it was one of our better sessions of offense throughout the game," said guard Jaysean Paige, who led the bench with 11 points.

WVU improved to 3-1 in non-conference play against teams from major conferences this season after going 0-4 last season (plus a loss to Gonzaga) and 1-2 the year before (plus another loss to Gonzaga).

In non-conference play against major conference opponents, WVU hadn't scored as many points since beating Kansas State, 85-80, in December 2011 and hadn't won by as large a margin since beating Iowa, 87-68, in the 2008 Las Vegas Invitational.

It was not without some nervy moments the Mountaineers must avoid against the veteran Terriers. A 19-6 run built a 13-point lead late in the first half, but turnovers and missed free throws had N.C. State down just five with less than a minute to go in the half. The Wolfpack's 16th turnover of the first half ended with Jevon Carter's buzzer-beating 3 and WVU's 13th, 14th and 15th points off turnovers for a 41-32 lead entering the locker room.

It was a one-point game early in the second half, and the Mountaineers looked much like the group that built a 14-point lead at home against LSU and gave it away in a 74-73 loss. WVU's lone defeat was also the only game against a team in the RPI's top 50. N.C. State was No. 46 and Wofford is No. 39.

"Maturity," WVU forward Jonathan Holton said. "We got a little more matured and we were in control of our own destiny. I don't think N.C. State ever got the lead back. We kept playing our game."

There's an effective blend of fact and fiction in that summary of how the Mountaineers managed a series of one-point leads before widening the margin to 14 points. Juwan Staten was 6 for 10 for 14 of his 24 points in the second half and at times made his defender look hopeless trying to as he tried to guard the Big 12's preseason player of the year.

"Staten there late in the game just took it over," N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said.

What was not to be expected was lively halfcourt offense, where WVU has struggled so often and so obviously this season and where WVU needed to excel while N.C. State shot 63 percent in the second half. Whether the plays were run early for Devin Williams or later for Elijah Macon, the Mountaineers were productive and added points when they had to. By the end of the game, Staten was driving and passing to Holton for a pair of deep 3s from the corner to remove whatever comeback thoughts the Wolfpack were entertaining.

"If we're going to make a serious run," Huggins said, "he needs to make those shots."

Holton hadn't been, though, and was 3 for 23 in the first 10 games. After the ninth, Huggins warned that Holton would soon lose his shooting privileges if he didn't find his stroke. Holton wasn't covered on his late baskets, but he wasn't covered when he missed one early. The attention that didn't go to him went somewhere else, and the Mountaineers would like for that to change.

"We can spread people and let Wanny do what he does," Huggins said, referring to Staten. "Wanny had two great finds and he had confidence in Jon. We watch him every day. It's not like he can't shoot. I think he gets a little anxious and gets in a hurry and just goes a little too fast. He's very capable. He's had days when he probably didn't miss. It just hadn't transferred over to a game."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

WVU BASKETBALL: Huggins fires up Mountaineers in Gotham Classic win http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141221/DM03/141229911 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141221/DM03/141229911 Sun, 21 Dec 2014 00:57:30 -0500 By Mike Casazza NEW YORK - Bob Huggins has drawn the ire and the whistle of plenty of officials throughout a career that now features 750 wins after No. 22 West Virginia beat North Carolina State, 83-69, Saturday night before 8,088 inside Madison Square Garden.

What happened in Gotham Classic wasn't much different from all the others, but the reaction to this particular difference of opinion with how the officials were calling the game was priceless in more ways than one.

With 7:47 to go in the first half, Huggins mockingly applauded official Donnie Eppley during a media timeout for his first technical of the season. Huggins closed the timeout by informing Eppley, "You can tell everyone you gave me one now. They'll buy you a beer back home."

Huggins' players, who'd been called for 10 fouls while NCSU had been called for just three, toasted their coach. The Mountaineers clapped and cheered during their huddle and then tried their hardest to run away from the Wolfpack. A 19-6 run followed the conflict and the comedy, and WVU opened up a 13-point lead that never completely vanished during the team's first game here since the 2012 Big East tournament.

"Coach Huggins is that type of coach," WVU forward Jonathan Holton said. "He'll fire us right up and get us out of our seats and feeling happy and all that stuff. He's the type of coach who gives us that great hype and energy and gets us playing the way we're supposed to be playing."

Juwan Staten led WVU (10-1) with 24 points and six assists and was named the event's most outstanding player. It was his first career game here.

"This is the greatest place to play basketball in the world," he said. "That played a big party in me wanting to play great, but the difference for me was I made shots in the second half."

Staten scored 12 points after halftime and saved his spots for when the Mountaineers needed him to hold off the lingering Wolfpack.

"There was one point where I thought he said, 'I'm going to play like I'm the Big 12 player of the year,'" State coach Mark Gottfried said."

Devin Williams added 16 points and eight rebounds and Jaysean Paige came off the bench and scored 11 of the team's 30 points from its reserves. The Mountaineers made 31 of 58 shots (season-high 53.4 percent) and 7 of 13 3-point shots.

Trevor Lacey led NCSU, which was No. 46 in the RPI, with 24 points. He had three points at halftime. Anthony Barber added 16 points. The Wolfpack (9-3) made 20 of 36 shots (55.6 percent, the highest against WVU this season) and 8 of 14 3-pointe attempts, but went 21 for 35 at the free-throw line and committed a season-worst 23 turnovers that WVU turned into 19 points.

A game that was slow to start got interesting late in the first half. Eppley whistled Tarik Phillip for a slight foul out on the perimeter to send the teams into a timeout. WVU assistant Ron Everhart asked Eppley for more even treatment and walked away before Eppley pointed at director of operations Billy Hahn, who was watching the conversation with a look of amusement. Huggins then approached his huddled players, clapped in Eppley's direction and told him he was doing a good job. A whistle followed.

Ralston Turner, who had 33 points in NCSU's last game against Tennessee, but finished with nine against the Mountaineers, missed the two free throws after the technical and then Barber made two for the foul that set off Huggins. Those tied the score 18-18, but WVU scored the next eight points. Paige later tipped in a rebound and made a 3 before Staten's layup gave the Mountaineers a 37-24 lead.

"That technical Huggs got wasn't because he was trying to be all whatever," Williams said. "It was more because he was hyped and energetic and he was in the game. When the coaches and even down to the managers and trainers are involved in the game and clapping and jumping around, it makes a difference."

All of WVU's hard work nearly went for naught at the end of the half. Staten had the ball up 13 points, but Williams' offensive foul turned over possession to NCSU and Caleb Martin made a 3. Paige was fouled and missed two free throws and 6-foot-8 freshman Abdul-Malik Abu banked in a desperation 3 late in a possession, his first of the season.

Barber then drew a second charge against Staten - the second that Staten could not believe - and Phillip fouled Turner, who made two free throws to make it 37-32. Williams was fouled with 32.3 seconds left and was 1 for 2 at the free-throw line.

The Wolfpack bobbled their possession and had the ball roll into the backcourt and past midcourt. WVU's Jevon Carter hustled before most others realized he still had time to get the ball in the corner, set his feet and make a 3 as time expired to secure a 41-32 halftime head.

It was the Wolfpack's 16th turnover of the half. They attempted just 17 shots and only made 8. WVU had 15 points off turnovers, took twice as many shots and made 17.

"I thought in the first half of the game their pressure bothered us," Gottfried said. "We played like a young team and they looked like sharks with blood in the water. I thought we got in a hurry. I thought their defense sped us up, we didn't play with a lot of poise and I thought that was all to their credit."

NCSU rallied to start the half, but got some help from WVU's 0 for 4 start with a turnover. The Wolfpack scored the first six points and Huggins called a timeout up by three. Staten made a jumper to get WVU going, but Lacey's second 3 of the half cut the lead to 44-43.

Staten and Paige scored seconds apart and the five-point lead was the largest WVU would have until Phillip's 3 put WVU up 59-53 with 9:15 remaining. He'd been 0 for 6 from 3-point range this season. Staten followed with a pair of stutter-step jumpers around a pair of Lacey free throws for a 63-55 lead. Elijah Macon made a pair of free throws and then finished a pass from a driving Carter for a layup for a 67-57 lead with 6:58 to go.

The lead was never less than eight points the rest of the way and grew to be as large as 14 when Holton made the second of a pair of late 3s for an 81-66 lead with 1:10 remaining. He'd only made 3 of 23 attempts in the first 10 games.

"Definitely nice for the lid to come off," Holton said. "My teammates have faith in me and they kept swinging me the ball and I hit the shots."

Montgomery's big game leads WVU women past Marshall in Classic http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141220/DM03/141229930 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141220/DM03/141229930 Sat, 20 Dec 2014 19:21:14 -0500 By Chuck McGill CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Long before the opening tip of Saturday's Capital Classic, Marshall women's basketball coach Matt Daniel spoke to Mike Carey, West Virginia's 14th-year head coach.

"I walked down to him before the game," Daniel said. "It was McKenzie Akers, Norrisha Victrum and AJ Johnson on the floor, the first three warming up for Marshall, and they add up height-wise to their starting center, probably.

"I said, 'Mike, doesn't that scare the mess out of you?'"

The three players Daniel mentioned are 5-foot-6 or shorter. WVU has four starters at least 6-1, including 6-5 center Lanay Montgomery, who finished as the Classic's Most Valuable Player.

Montgomery finished with 15 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks as the Mountaineers won, 69-56, in front of 2,421 at the Charleston Civic Center. It was WVU's 10th consecutive win in the annual in-state series.

"I think that had something to do with it," Daniel said of WVU's length.

The Mountaineers built a 16-point lead at halftime, 34-18, in part because the Herd made just 7 of 39 field-goal attempts in the opening 20 minutes. Marshall shot 17.9 percent from the floor and 15.4 percent from 3-point range in the first half, and the Herd didn't have an assist at intermission.

WVU scored the final 11 points of the opening half, while the Herd went scoreless for the final 3:56.

Marshall, however, came out firing from the perimeter in the second half, hitting six 3-pointers to trail by seven points, 51-44, with 9:56 left. It was the third 3-pointer by Princeton native McKenzie Akers that pulled the Herd within single digits.

But West Virginia turned it on from three, getting back-to-back 3-pointers from leading scorer Bria Holmes to trigger a 12-0 run. The Mountaineers outscored the Herd 18-3 to push the lead to 22 points, 69-47, with 4:00 left.

Even so, Carey was tough on his team, which is ranked No. 22 and carries a 10-1 record into Monday's game at Ohio State.

"Marshall did a lot of good things," he said. "We did a few."

Montgomery was one of the few. She became the third player in program history - and the first since March 7, 1986 - to score at least 15 points, grab at least 14 boards, block at least six shots and collect at least three steals. Georgeann Wells is responsible for the other two games with those kind of numbers.

"She's good," Daniel said.

Three others scored in double figures for WVU, including a game-high 16 from Holmes, who enter the game as the nation's seventh-best scorer. She finished 6-for-11 shooting and hit 3 of 8 three-pointers. She scored 12 of her points in the second half.

Averee Fields added 12 points and six rebounds, while Tyara Warren came off the bench to chip in with 10 points.

The Mountaineers made only 5 of 21 shots from beyond the arc, and had more turnovers (18) than assists (14).

"We weren't in sync for some reason," Carey said.

Leah Scott and Victrum paced Marshall (6-3) with 15 points each. Scott added nine rebounds and three assists. Akers and Johnson each had nine points.

The Herd scored the final nine points to turn a 22-point deficit into the 13-point final margin of victory.

It is the sixth consecutive year WVU has won the annual Charleston matchup by double figures.

"I think we got tired," he said. "They were bigger than we are; when you wrestle somebody bigger than you, you're going to get tired."

Daniel opened his post-game remarks by discussing the death of Marshall president Stephen Kopp. He passed away late Wednesday night at the age of 63.

"I'm not going to be able to do this without being emotional," said Daniel, who is in his third season at Marshall. "It feels odd talking about the game with the passing of Dr. Kopp.

"He and his wife (Jane) were at every event that they could be, including women's basketball. I can't really remember, it feels like right now, that they were at every home game. I can't remember them not being there.

"My heart hurts for Miss Jane and their family," Daniel added. "When I called a timeout with a minute left, I told (the players) they would've made him proud today with the way they competed."

WVU FOOTBALL: Holgorsen understands Dawson's decision http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141218/DM03/141219203 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141218/DM03/141219203 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:33:55 -0500 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Dana Holgorsen not only confirmed Thursday what was reported a day earlier, but the West Virginia coach made it seem as though offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson's decision to leave for the same job at Kentucky was as logical as it looked.

Dawson might have had the title, but Holgorsen holds the power.

"It's a great opportunity for Shannon and I couldn't be happier for him," Holgorsen said. "He works for an offensive coach who's going to be involved in offense, and you all understand that. The opportunity to work for a defensive head coach and have complete control is something that he's ready for at this point.

Dawson, who's been the coordinator since arriving in 2011 and started out as a receivers coach before coaching quarterbacks the past two seasons, didn't call plays. Holgorsen handled that in elaborate fashion with play cards and towels. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops is just about as involved in the Wildcats defense and sought someone who could continue the team's use of the Air Raid offense after coordinator Neal Brown was hired as the head coach at Troy.

"He joked around a little bit when he came to me four years ago that he thought he was ready for that job at that point," Holgorsen said. "After four years, he knows he's ready for this job, and I know he's ready for this job. It's a great opportunity for him and his family. To have complete control of it, I would never try to talk anybody out of that. I did the same thing at Texas Tech back in 2008, and it worked out for me. He's ready for it, and he'll do a great job."

Dawson, who wasn't allowed to speak to reporters Thursday and won't be available before coaching in the Dec. 29 Liberty Bowl against Texas A&M, was the only assistant who remained from Holgorsen's initial staff in 2011. Whoever succeeds Dawson will be the 11th assistant and fourth offensive or defensive coordinator Holgorsen has had to hire, though eight have left for other jobs in the SEC, Big 12 or Pac-12.

"You can't expect to have my position and not have to worry about staffing every year," he said. "Chances are, it's not the only coach we're going to lose off this staff this year."

Dawson's contract was set to expire in June. Running backs coach JaJuan Seider, receivers coach Lonnie Galloway and safeties coach/special teams coordinator/associate head coach Joe DeForest have contracts that expire next month. Holgorsen seemed to suggest they'll all be brought back, first saying he saw "nothing on our staff right now that I view as important when it comes to a change." Later he was discussing defensive coordinator Tony Gibson's three-year, $2.1 million contract extension and said he was "hoping to get seven other coaches locked in and locked up." 

There might be a problem with that, though, because defensive line coach Tom Bradley is widely mentioned as a candidate for Pitt's vacant head coaching position, where he's interviewed before.

"I don't think this is the place to talk about that," said the longtime Penn State assistant finishing his first season with the Mountaineers. "I coach for the University of West Virginia (sic) and I don't want to distract in any way from the game, the players and the excitement. We're playing against Texas A&M and we'll all excited to go there."

* * *

Junior safety Karl Joseph said he sent his paperwork to the NFL's draft advisory board and will wait until after the bowl game to make a decision about his future. The board generates evaluations for players and lets them know what round they can expect to be taken in during the draft. Players decide to say in the draft or return to school based on the feedback.

Joseph, who has made 82 tackles this season and was named first-team all-Big 12 by the league's coaches, said he knows he has to improve parts of his game, like coverage, and that he doesn't have a projection in mind that would encourage him to skip his senior season.

"I know I've got another season left and I can work to improve, but I need a chance to sit down and talk to my family and make the decision that's best for them," he said.

* * *

Who plays quarterback for the Mountaineers (7-5) against Texas A&M (7-5) remains unknown. Holgorsen said Thursday Clint Trickett, who started the first 11 games before suffering a concussion in the 11th and missing the regular-season finale, is "ready to go" but "hasn't been taking reps over the last month." He said the Mountaineers will evaluate Trickett when he does take reps either on campus or in Memphis.

"You don't take reps, it's going to hurt you," Holgorsen said.

That's helped Skyler Howard, who has absorbed most of the extra snaps after relieving Trickett for much of the second half against Kansas State and then passing for 285 yards and three touchdowns to win his start against Iowa State. 

"Clint has done such a good job for us throughout the course of the year and is responsible for us being in a bowl game," Holgorsen said. "He's done nothing to change what I think of him as far as being the starting quarterback and what kind of a kid he is, what kind of competitor he is. With that said, Skyler is improving. He's taken a lot of reps the last three weeks, and he's playing pretty good. I anticipate having both ready to go, and we'll probably make a game-time decision on who starts and what the rotation will be."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

WVU BASKETBALL: Mountaineers face N.C. State at Madison Square Garden http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141218/DM03/141219207 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141218/DM03/141219207 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:40:18 -0500 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - On most any other day, Bob Huggins would say one of his favorite moments as West Virginia University's basketball coach is winning the 2010 Big East Tournament and hearing a celebratory "Country Roads" come through the speakers inside Madison Square Garden.

On Thursday, Huggins had a different memory before his team returned to the Garden for the first time in more than two years.

"The thing I remember," he said, "is giving away the UConn game."

In the Mountaineers' last game in the Garden in March 2012, they built a 50-40 lead with 10:02 to go and were up 63-59 with 2:49 remaining when guard Shabazz Napier had steals and layups on consecutive possessions to tie the score.

The Mountaineers made one basket in the final 3:59 of regulation and missed all 11 of their shots in overtime to lose 71-67 in the first round of their final Big East Tournament.

"We let Shabazz come and take it out of our hands twice and said, 'Here,' " Huggins said. "We had the game under control. That wasn't a good deal. That's what I remember."

No. 22 WVU (9-1) looks to write new history Saturday night in the Gotham Classic. The Mountaineers play North Carolina State (9-2) at around 9:30 p.m. on ESPN2. The game is preceded by Richmond-Pepperdine at 7 p.m.

The Mountaineers have won 16 of their last 25 games at the Garden, but will be challenged by the Wolfpack and guards Trevor Lacey (17.2 points per game) and Ralston Turner (14.9). N.C. State has played only one other game away from home (a loss at Purdue) and lost a home game against Wofford, which is WVU's next opponent at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Coliseum.

"They're very talented," Huggins said of coach Mark Gottfried's N.C. State team. "They make shots. Their two wings are probably the most talented certainly that we've played so far and maybe that we'll play all year. They're both great shot-makers. They've got good size. They could be a problem for us."

Huggins agreed to add the game with a short window before the Wofford contest late in the scheduling process just so he could get a game in New York, where WVU played multiple games every season against Seton Hall or Rutgers in the regular season and then in the conference tournament as a Big East school. When the Mountaineers won the Big East Tournament in 2010, all five starters were from the metropolitan New York City area. WVU returns there with just players two with ties to the area.

Tarik Phillip is from Brooklyn, N.Y. He knew and followed Truck Bryant when he played for the Mountaineers, and Phillip was at the 2010 title game when the Mountaineers beat Georgetown. Jaysean Paige is from Jamestown, N.Y., which is in the southwest corner of the state some six hours from Manhattan, and he played his senior season of high school basketball in Kentucky.

Both are junior college transfers and say they'll have about 20 friends and family members at the game.

"Me and Tarik are roommates, so we've been talking about this since we first got here," Paige said. "We're looking forward to getting out there and playing in front of our friends and family. It should be a good experience."

WVU's road games in the Big 12 are in the central time zone and Huggins said WVU has lost some of its recruiting presence in the area where Bryant, Da'Sean Butler, Wellington Smith, Devin Ebanks and Kevin Jones starred before playing for WVU. This game and next season's Jimmy V Classic against Virginia are attempts to restore their name.

"We're trying to," he said. "We still want to try and recruit in there and if you want to recruit there you've got to get in there and play some."

Senior Gary Browne is the only WVU player who has played in the Garden. Phillip said he and Paige would be the team's tour guides during free time in the city.

"I don't know if they'll want to get on the subway," he said.

Huggins, who lost his only game at the Garden as a player when WVU fell to No. 7 Rutgers in 1976, was happy he could let his players experience the city near Christmas and see what he called "the world's largest Christmas tree" at Rockefeller Center.

He just won't be participating.

"I'll drop them off and say, 'Be back by this time,' " he said. "I'm not going to walk around with them. You try and tell them, 'Don't buy any watches,' and the first thing they do is run and buy watches. That's part of the experience and guys talk about it when they're 50 years old. They say, 'I thought I was buying Gucci, but when I looked at it, it said "ucci" and there was no "G," but it was only $30.'

"Yeah, but if you walked around the corner, it was only $15."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

Luck said NCAA needs to be 'open and transparent' http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141218/DM03/141219211 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141218/DM03/141219211 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:00:11 -0500 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Oliver Luck and Keli Cunningham agree intercollegiate athletics is headed for a critical era of significant change. Neither will be in charge of how it's handled at West Virginia.

Luck left his post as WVU's athletic director Wednesday and on Thursday detailed his duties as the NCAA's newly created executive vice president of regulatory affairs. Cunningham, Luck's senior executive associate athletic director and the first person he hired in the summer of 2010, was named Luck's interim replacement by president E. Gordon Gee Wednesday. She said Thursday she probably won't be the full-time replacement.

"I do, however, plan on working closely with president Gee and identifying our next athletic director," she said. "I don't anticipate being a candidate for the permanent spot mostly because of the timing of this opening. I've only been heavily involved in the administration and in day-to-day operations for the past year."

Luck, who Cunningham praised for granting her a "mentorship" since her arrival and in particular the past year-plus, said his new job that he'll begin Jan. 15 in Indianapolis revolves around building trust and confidence in the NCAA and among its members.

He said the popularity and exposure of college sports are at an all-time high, but he acknowledged the existence of the many problems and doubts he was known to point out when he worked for WVU.

"What we can do to inspire even more confidence from our constituency groups is to be as clear, open and transparent as we possibly can so folks really do understand the 'Why?' of the decisions made in Indianapolis," he said. "It's a complicated world and it's very often a nuanced world, but it's incumbent on us as an organization to speak with one voice and to communicate clearly."

Cunningham's priority is different. She said her activity as the interim leader of the athletic department will depend on how long she's in the role, but she vowed to be as assertive as circumstances require. Gee said Wednesday there wouldn't be a search committee formed to find the school's 12th athletic director, but Cunningham said Thursday she and a select few others have been working alongside Gee for "a little bit of time" already.

"I believe I can help because I've been heavily involved in the administration and the program not just the past year, but the past four years," she said. "I've been able to have an appreciation for what exists from the perspective of many different areas. I think that brings value to the process to help him understand where we're at with some things and where we're headed with others."

Cunningham, who is from Petersburg and has a master's and bachelor's degree from WVU, started professionally in the Big East's compliance office and reviewed institutional compliance audits and processed Big East and NCAA violations and waiver requests. She was then hired by the University of Maryland in 2004 as the compliance coordinator and earned a promotion a year later to assistant athletic director for compliance.

Luck inherited an ongoing NCAA violations case when he arrived in June 2010, and in August that year the NCAA ruled the football program committed five major violations and one secondary violation from 2005-09. Days later, the football team self-reported a secondary violation for wearing pads earlier than rules allow when preseason practice started.

Luck was already looking to repair WVU's compliance wing and Cunningham was hired the following week and named the associate athletic director for governance and compliance. Last year, though, she essentially became Luck's second-in-command. She said she studied Luck's decision-making most and learned to explore immediate and long-term benefits or consequences of any action.

Her work with Luck gives her a clue about who should be next. Cunningham said it's important to find someone who "genuinely cares about WVU, our department, this state and Mountaineer Nation and embraces that side of it," but that it's no less vital the eventual successor is prepared for imminent rule and regulatory changes.

"We need someone who's action oriented," she said. "We have a great foundation, but there's still a lot of work to be done and things that need to be seen through. We need someone who's intelligent and eager, someone who understands college athletics and also understands and embraces how the landscape is changing in the near future.

"I think what we'll see happen in the next two or three years will really shape our future, so we need someone to understand what's on the horizon and someone who has opinions on that and knows where we need to position ourselves in it. The past 10 or 12 years will be very different, I believe, than what lies ahead."

Luck's future, though, is more about his past. His experience as the athletic director beginning in 2010 gave him a useful look at the NCAA, how it functions, where it lags and how it can be enhanced. Like many others, he believes the NCAA hasn't been as efficient or as trustworthy as it could be and he's determined now to make the changes he believes will help most.

"I've heard an earful from my colleagues and from others about potential misgivings and missteps by the NCAA, and they tend to focus on the enforcement side of things," he said. "I do know that a good bit of work has been done internally as well as externally to look at the enforcement mechanism and look at the systems in place. What coaches want at the end of the day are clear rules, an expedient process, even-handed enforcement and timeliness for all of that."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

CAPITAL CLASSIC: Herd women's coach mourns loss ahead of game vs. No. 22 WVU http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141218/DM03/141219224 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141218/DM03/141219224 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 17:05:23 -0500 By Chuck McGill CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Marshall women's basketball coach Matt Daniel struggled to shift his mind to Saturday's Capital Classic matchup with No. 22 West Virginia.

Marshall University president Stephen Kopp died late Wednesday night, and basketball seemed like an afterthought to the third-year Herd hoops coach.

"It's a sad day," he said Thursday after practice. "It seems odd that we would play the game, but we'll do whatever the powers that be say."

Daniel added that he has "never experienced anything like this."

Saturday's game will come three days after Kopp's passing. The Marshall president was a fixture at women's basketball games.

The Herd (6-2) will meet the Mountaineers (9-1) at 4 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center. Marshall will try to end a nine-game skid to its intra-state rival. Over the last five games, the Thundering Herd has dropped games in the annual series by an average of 29.6 points.

Daniel knows his team will need to make shots to have a chance against West Virginia, which is 3-0 in this series when nationally ranked. In the past five meetings with the Mountaineers, Marshall has made 64 shots in 254 attempts. That's a shooting percentage of 25.2 percent.

Putting the ball in the basket will be no easy task for the Herd.

"They're really athletic," Daniel said of WVU. "They're always really physical and tough, they're tenacious on both ends of the floor, they're long. It's a combination of all the things that makes them who they are.

"They're in the top 25 and they've only dropped one game."

WVU, which enters Saturday's non-conference matchup on a six-game winning streak, is among Division I's best at defending shots. The Mountaineers allow an average of 55.3 points per game, which ranks No. 37 nationally. Opponents are making only 33.2 percent of their shots, which makes West Virginia the 18th-best in field goal percentage defense.

Marshall has struggled in the Capital Classic series, but Daniel's team has won six of eight games after consecutive losing seasons (9-21 in 2012-13 and 11-20 last season). The Herd hasn't kept the game within single digits since a 74-65 loss on Jan. 14, 2009, and Marshall hasn't defeated WVU since an 82-76 win on Jan. 11, 2005.

Overall, the Mountaineers have won 12 of the last 13 games in the series. The last five victory margins: 31, 16, 12, 57 and 32.

Marshall is outscoring opponents 68.0-56.9. The Herd ranks No. 58 in scoring defense and No. 50 in field goal percentage defense (35.4).

"It's the same no matter who we play," Daniel said. "We've got to rebound the ball and take care of the ball and that will give us a shot."

Daniel leans on a trio of double-digit scorers: Leah Scott, Norrisha Victrum and A.J. Johnson. Scott, a 6-foot senior from Detroit, Mich., averages 16 points and 6.8 rebounds. Victrum, a 5-5 junior from Columbia, S.C., averages 11 points. Johnson, a 5-5 senior from Silver Spring, Md., averages 10 points.

The Herd enters Saturday's game No. 75 in the RPI.

"It looks like we're starting to (turn the corner)," Daniel said. "I don't know what the future holds. You're starting to see what we're capable of, not what we are. Hopefully we can build on that."

The Mountaineers rely on a pair of 6-1 scorers. Bria Holmes, a junior guard from New Haven, Conn., is seventh nationally in scoring (23.7) and averages 4.7 rebounds with a team-high 25 steals. Averee Fields, a forward from Murray, Ky., averages 17.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and has 19 steals. They combine to average 40.8 points, more than 50 percent of the Mountaineers 76.8 points per game.

West Virginia coach Mike Carey is 12-1 against Marshall.

"Coach Carey's book, he's on chapter 25 and we're on chapter 3," Daniel said. "It's not even an equal comparison on where we are as a program.

"We've matured a lot. I don't know if we've matured enough, but we've matured a lot. We're responding to coaching better, adversity better, success better."

WVU FOOTBALL: Dawson departs for job as Kentucky's offensive coordinator http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141217/DM03/141219265 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141217/DM03/141219265 Wed, 17 Dec 2014 21:57:56 -0500 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - For the second time in three years, West Virginia's football program is losing an offensive assistant to a Southeastern Conference program.

Sources told the Charleston Daily Mail on Wednesday offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson has accepted the same position at Kentucky. Dawson was the only remaining assistant from coach Dana Holgorsen's first staff in 2011. He replaces Neal Brown, who was hired as the head coach at Troy.

The Wildcats started the season 5-1, but lost their final six games and aren't eligible for a bowl. Dawson will join Kentucky after coaching for WVU in the Dec. 29 Liberty Bowl. The Mountaineers face the Aggies offense led by offensive coordinator Jake Spavital, who was WVU's quarterbacks coach in 2011-12 before leaving for College Station, Texas. He was the co-coordinator his first season and has been the lone coordinator this season.

Holgorsen calls plays for the Mountaineers and it's unlikely Dawson, let alone Spavital, were ever going to get that responsibility while working for Holgorsen. Texas A&M and Kentucky, coached by Mark Stoops, both run variations of the Air Raid offense Holgorsen has run throughout his career. That career took off at Texas Tech, where he was an assistant from 2000-07. In the last two seasons, Holgorsen was the Red Raiders offensive coordinator, but coach Mike Leach called the plays.

Dawson, who started out as WVU's receivers coach and moved to the quarterbacks after Spavital left, made $250,000 this past season and his contract was set to expire June 30, 2015. According to a USA Today database of college football assistant coaches, Dawson's salary was tied for the 303rd highest among Football Bowl Subdivision assistants. He'll likely receive a boost at Kentucky, Brown made $550,000.

Friends wish Oliver Luck well in new NCAA role http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141217/DM01/141219275 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141217/DM01/141219275 Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:46:23 -0500 By Samuel Speciale West Virginia University athletic director Oliver Luck, who has accepted a high-profile position with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, is leaving the school a better place, several friends and colleagues said Wednesday.

Luck, who has helmed WVU's athletic department for four years, announced Wednesday that he will join the NCAA in a newly created position involving the organization's regulatory affairs.

Praise from his WVU colleagues was effusive:

n "Oliver gave me an incredible opportunity four years ago, and he has been an invaluable partner and mentor since I arrived in Morgantown. He helped push our University forward in so many areas and his lasting impact will be felt for years," football coach Dana Holgorsen said in a statement. "Though I am sad to see him go, I know that he and Kathy are headed to a wonderful opportunity, and we wish them all the best. I also know that Oliver will always be a proud Mountaineer."

n "I would like to thank Oliver for his hard work and dedication to our University for the last four and a half years. Oliver will always be remembered for moving the Mountaineers forward to the Big 12 Conference and making WVU a part of one of the highly visible conferences," basketball coach Bob Huggins said. "Being in the Big 12 Conference has put our University in a great position to be a part of the major athletic decisions that are being made nationally. I want to thank Oliver for all his support and friendship during his time at West Virginia University."

n "We are forever grateful for what Oliver Luck has done for our University and the WVU Athletic Department," women's basketball coach Mike Carey said. "With his leadership, we have and are continuing to build one of the nation's top women's basketball programs. I wish Oliver and his family the best on his new endeavors with the NCAA."

Longtime friend Bren Stevens, University of Charleston athletic director, was full of praise as well.

"He's the perfect person for the job," Stevens said.

Stevens, who considers Luck to be a mentor, said his knowledge of the NCAA's legal affairs will make him a good fit.

Luck's new position, executive vice president of regulatory affairs, was recently created to consolidate several academic-, membership- and eligibility-related functions. He will oversee the day-to-day operations of all regulatory functions.

Luck, who recently was a leading candidate to become athletic director for the University of Texas, has years of experience from serving on several NCAA committees and counsels.

He also has been one of the most active athletic directors in the country. While at WVU, he hired head football coach Dana Holgorsen in 2010, oversaw the school's move to the Big 12 in 2012, reinstated golf as a varsity sport last year and was integral in bringing a new baseball stadium to Morgantown.

While his position at West Virginia's largest public university has kept him busy, Luck has taken the time to make connections throughout the state.

Stevens said Luck has mentored her since she became the University of Charleston's athletic director in 2012.

While Luck will move in January to NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis, Stevens expects their friendship will not be affected and that she'll continue to seek his advice.

Their relationship goes back years to when Luck invited Stevens to visit Morgantown to shadow him and learn more about the roles and duties of an athletic director. Stevens said she learned a great deal from Luck.

"He told me, 'Don't be afraid to be bold,'" Stevens said. Since becoming an athletic director, Stevens has done just that by overseeing program and facility expansion.

Stevens said Luck will visit UC's campus before he moves and will speak to the school's booster club later in January.

"It'll be a great move for him," Stevens added.

University President Gordon Gee, who has worked closely with Luck for the past year, said he has admired the director for decades.

During Gee's first stint as WVU president, Luck was a standout quarterback for the Mountaineers and led the team to a Peach Bowl victory over Florida in 1982.

Gee said Luck has made his alma matter proud since then.

"He's put the athletic department on solid financial ground," Gee said. "And the facilities improvements make us even more attractive to recruits."

Gee said Luck will be missed but agreed the move is a "remarkable opportunity."

"There's no one better suited," he said. "And we're proud to have a WVU alum in the NCAA."

Others have extended congratulations to Luck.

WVU Men's Basketball coach Bob Huggins said Luck was a hard worker dedicated to the university and that he successfully positioned the school to be a major player in national athletic decisions.

Sen. Joe Manchin, in a phone call with the Daily Mail, said he wishes Luck the best. While he has yet talk to Luck, Manchin said he intends to call him soon and congratulate him.

Manchin also said the now-vacant position is a "pretty sweet job" and that the school should have no trouble attracting good candidates.

An NCAA search committee recommended the widely regarded Luck after it conducted a national search of candidates.

While Luck doesn't leave WVU until Jan. 15, the university already has appointed Keli Cunningham, a senior associate director, to helm the department in the interim.

Cunningham joined the department in 2010 to oversee the daily operations of the administration. Gee said she is part of a strong team that is stepping up to fill in for Luck.

Because the position is public and important to the university's sports programs, Gee said finding a permanent replacement has been fast-tracked.

"We'll do a lot of advising," he said. "We'll move swiftly."

Luck, a Cleveland native, is WVU's touchdown and completions record holder and was inducted into the school's sports hall of fame in 1997.

After college, Luck entered the 1982 NFL draft where he was selected in the second round by the Houston Oilers. He went on to play four seasons, during which he earned a law degree from the University of Texas.

After retiring from professional football, Luck joined the league in an administrative role, led the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and became president of a Major League Soccer team.

Contact writer Samuel Speciale at sam.speciale@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4886. Follow him at www.twitter.com/wvschools.

Chuck McGill: Luck's legacy is secure http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141217/DM03/141219292 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141217/DM03/141219292 Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:02:26 -0500 CHARLESTON, W.Va. - It was 1,651 days ago when Oliver Luck was hired by his alma mater, West Virginia University, to guide the school's athletic programs through uncertain waters. On June 10, 2010, when Luck's hiring was announced, he said it was "a particularly challenging time in intercollegiate athletics."

How apropos, it seems, with the announcement Wednesday that Luck is the NCAA's new executive vice president of regulatory affairs, the 54-year-old former WVU quarterback embraced his new role by saying it is "a time of fundamental change in intercollegiate athletics."

Challenges and changes are what will define Luck's four-plus year return to WVU. It is a lasting legacy that will be refined and redefined long after he starts tackling the arduous tasks that await him at his new workplace in Indianapolis.

Luck's time in charge of WVU athletics had its flaws, but his list of accomplishments are even too numerous to fit into a single column. Seven sitting varsity head coaches were hired by Luck, including Dana Holgorsen (football), Randy Mazey (baseball), Sammie Henson (wrestling) and Sean Covich (men's golf). Covich's hiring came after Luck revived the golf program, which had been on a 33-year hiatus.

Luck drastically altered the revenue flow into the athletics program, which has not only helped him hire and retain the aforementioned coaches with competitive salaries, but has put the athletic department in position to revamp and renovate the school's sports facilities. Luck announced $106 million in facilities upgrades in March, which include a football team room, enhancements throughout Milan Puskar Stadium and the WVU Coliseum, upgrades to the Shell Building and Natatorium, and the repurposing of Hawley Field, the old site of the school's baseball stadium. Luck made a new baseball complex a reality, and that facility is scheduled to be ready for the 2015 season.

Much of the gussying up of the facilities and sorely needed additions and upgrades are possible because of the Mountaineers' move to the Big 12, and the financial benefits of the move. When Luck talked about the challenging time in intercollegiate athletics four years ago, he was referring to "the chess moves being made" in conference realignment.

He didn't want to tip his king.

"The thing that scared me the most as an alumnus and a former football player is this college football realignment and us waking up one morning and going, 'Oh, what happened?'" Luck told me in June while sipping a coffee in the lobby of the Charleston Marriott. "It was happening and it was the most important thing on my radar screen when I started.

"Personally, I thought we would be faced with that challenge in the first three or four years of my tenure and it happened much quicker than I thought. There was a crucial three- or four-month period, but thankfully we're much better off."

The Big 12 enjoyed record-setting revenues during the 2013-14 academic year, when the 10-team league brought in $221 million. That money is split between the 10 teams, with WVU receiving a 67-percent share last year and an 84-percent cut this year. In 2015-16, the Mountaineers will receive their full share of that massive money, a figure that could climb north of $40 million in the coming years.

Luck bonded $75 million of the upcoming facility upgrades against the Big 12's guaranteed money, which wouldn't have been available had West Virginia stayed put in the Big East and eventually left to nibble at the crumbs left in the American Athletic Conference.

"I'm not sure I can overestimate how important the Big 12 was for the university," Luck said to me last summer.

Luck tapped new, smaller revenue sources, like when he introduced beer sales at the football stadium in 2011. He stumbled at times when he brokered the lucrative multimedia rights deal with IMG College, but on Wednesday officials at WVU lauded that deal and others, like outsourcing ticket sales to IMG Learfield. Luck brought an invaluable amount of attention to the school by his role on the 13-person College Football Playoff committee, a position he'll have to hand over after his departure from WVU.

Fundraising has started for a new golf practice facility. The football field turf will be replaced. Holgorsen, hoops coach Bob Huggins and other programs - whether they produce revenues or not - have received what they need to compete nationally.

"We were lucky to have him," one WVU athletics official told me Wednesday after learning of the news, "and he'll push the envelope with the NCAA as the No. 2."

The final chapters of Luck's relatively brief return to Morgantown have yet to be written. What happens if the performance of Holgorsen, Luck's hand-picked coach, dips again in 2015 and the new athletic director makes a change? Will the Mountaineers' revenue-producing programs, which are 11-15 in football and 15-21 in men's basketball in league play since joining the Big 12, ever adapt to the new league?

How will the seeds of change Luck planted grow without him here to nurture them?

None of that should supersede this: Whoever is the new athletic director will not encounter nearly as many challenges or changes in the coming years.

That is Luck's legacy.

Names to watch for WVU's vacant athletic director job http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141217/DM03/141219299 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141217/DM03/141219299 Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:37:48 -0500 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - When Ed Pastilong retired in 2010 and former West Virginia University president Jim clements searched for a new athletic director, Clements interviewed only one person. Oliver Luck was the choice all along, and ultimately needed some convincing from Clements and his wife, Beth, to take the job.

Current WVU president E. Gordon Gee must now replace Luck, who accepted a high-ranking position with the NCAA on Wednesday. Luck, who sat in the athletic director's chair at WVU for four years and seven months, will be the NCAA's executive vice president for regulatory affairs. Luck begins his new position Jan. 15.

Gee, who had a previous stint as WVU's president in the early 1980s and then worked at the University of Colorado, Brown University, Vanderbilt University and Ohio State University, should have no shortage of connections and candidates who will not need as much persuading to become WVU's 12th athletic director. Luck's successor will be the school's first athletic director to begin with a Big 12 affiliation, a slice of the league's massive revenue payouts, a beneficial and lucrative multimedia rights contract, money for a nationally competitive salary and rising coaching salaries, a new baseball stadium and renovated facilities to support 18 varsity sports.

"We plan to move swiftly to find the best fit in a new athletic director to lead our programs, coaches and student-athletes into a new era of Mountaineer athletics," Gee said Wednesday.

Here is a look at some possibilities, listed in alphabetical order:

Whit Babcock

If Luck was hired by Texas in November 2013, Babcock's name would have made far more sense then than it does now. He was regarded as one of the bright young minds in college administration when he was at WVU from 2002-07 and enjoyed close relationships with coaches and boosters alike. Babcock, though, left the athletic director job at Cincinnati in January to take over at Virginia Tech, where he has already hired Buzz Williams as his men's basketball coach, extended football coach Frank Beamer's contract and might have to roll up his sleeves to fix some things in the football program. Nevertheless, Babcock, who has a master's degree from WVU, knows the inner workings of the Big 12 after working at Missouri from 2007-11 and is respected for his fundraising, but the Mountaineers must know it would be hard to make the former JMU baseball captain pick a fourth school in four years.

Keli Cunningham

WVU's executive senior associate athletic director was named the interim replacement Wednesday, but she should not be quickly dismissed as the permanent option. Cunningham was the first person Luck hired in June 2010 and he trusted her to fix WVU's flawed compliance operation. Those close to one, the other or both say Luck looks to Cunningham when needed and has increasingly involved her in the operations of the athletic department, which would explain the additions to expand her title. Skeptics could say the Petersburg native would have been named immediately if she were the pick, but WVU might look around and come back to realize Cunningham, who has a bachelor's and master's degree from WVU and worked in compliance for the Big East and Maryland, is so highly regarded for a reason.

Shane Lyons

The Parkersburg native also earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from WVU, and those sorts of those ties still matter to these searches. Lyons has done quite a bit since selling back his textbooks in 1988. He began as an associate commissioner in the Big South Conference and was then in the NCAA offices from 1989-98 before breaking into collegiate administration with three years at Texas Tech. Lyons garnered the most rave reviews, though, as associate commissioner of the ACC from 2001-11, a particularly successful time for the league. As good as that sounds, it masks the obvious intrigue: He's currently the deputy athletic director at the University of Alabama and knows how a big football program should be presented and received, the sort of designation that can help WVU as it continues to get settled in the Big 12.

Rob Mullens

He's the people's choice, though perhaps those people assume he'll bring some of the flashy uniforms and Nike money with him from Oregon, where he's been the athletic director since 2010. The doubt about Mullens is obvious. Why would he leave Oregon and all that Phil Knight swag? Mullens does have it good out west, but West Virginia is just as important to him. He's from Morgantown and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at WVU. He's friends with people who still work in the athletic department and there's a thought, if not hope, that he'd like to prove himself back home and removed from the Nike affiliation so many seek to attach to any success Oregon experiences. Mullens' past with big basketball (Kentucky, 2002-06) and a big roster of sports (Maryland, 1998-2002) has prepared him ably for whatever his future holds.

Jim Schaus

Simply put, no one's name carries more weight when it comes to prospective WVU athletic directors. His father, Fred, was a giant in pro and college sports who was an All-American player at WVU, a winning coach at WVU and Purdue and the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Fred preceded Pastilong as athletic director from 1981-89 and Jim got into the family business not long after graduating from Purdue and receiving his master's from WVU. He's been the athletic director at Ohio since 2008 and spent nine years before that in charge at Wichita State. He's made the most of smaller budgets in the past and still attracted quality coaches: Mark Turgeon and Gregg Marshall for Wichita State basketball and John Groce and Jim Christian for Ohio basketball.

Oliver Luck leaves WVU for position with NCAA http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141217/DM01/141219340 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141217/DM01/141219340 Wed, 17 Dec 2014 10:04:47 -0500 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - In June, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck joined the phalanx of college athletes, coaches and administrators who aimed their arrows at the NCAA.

"In terms of governance, the NCAA makes the Byzantine Empire look efficient," he told the Charleston Daily Mail. "The current governance model is broken and virtually all institutions - small, medium and large - agree on that."

On Wednesday, the Byzantines found a new emperor. WVU and the NCAA announced Luck was resigning his position at his alma mater to take over a newly created position at the NCAA as its executive vice president of regulatory affairs.

The Daily Mail first reported the news earlier in the day Wednesday.

"This is a time of fundamental change in intercollegiate athletics that will set the foundation for the years ahead," Luck said. "The challenges both internal and external to the NCAA present a unique opportunity to help shape the landscape for hundreds of thousands of young men and women."

Luck, 54, will start Jan. 15 at the organization's office in Indianapolis. His oldest son, Andrew, is the starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. Keli Cunningham, the executive assistant athletic director who was the first person Luck hired in 2010, was appointed the interim athletic director. Among the possibilities to replace Luck, Cunningham has been responsible for compliance operations and the daily functions of the administration.

University president E. Gordon Gee said the Mountaineers "plan to move swiftly to find the best fit in a new athletic director to lead our programs, coaches and student-athletes into a new era."

Though Luck had missteps in the Dana Holgorsen-Bill Stewart coaching transition and the outsourcing of the athletic department's multimedia rights to IMC College which generated lawsuits that remain active, he leaves a position that's more appealing than it was when he was hired June 9, 2010. The most notable action in his tenure was moving WVU out of the doomed Big East and working with former president Jim Clements to earn an invitation to the Big 12 Conference.

Luck also hired nine head coaches, revived the men's golf program, initiated a complex funding plan for a $21 million baseball stadium, landed a 12-year contract with IMG College and secured a $75 million bond for an expansive plan to modernize WVU's athletic facilities.

He was compensated, too, which should also help WVU attract candidates. Luck received a raise two years ago to $550,000 a year with an incentive cap of $150,000. Luck also had retention bonuses to pay him $75,000 for being in office Oct. 15, 2012, $225,000 on June 30, 2015 and $150,000 on June 30, 2017.

"It has been a tremendous honor to serve my alma mater as director of athletics for the past four-and-a-half years," Luck said. "As those who have spent time in West Virginia know, this is truly a special place. It's been an incredible experience for me to work with some of the best administrators, faculty, coaches, staff, student-athletes, fans, media, and alumni in the nation. As a member of the Big 12 Conference, the university is well-positioned for future success and I know that great things lie ahead for WVU."

Previously, the NCAA's regulatory responsibilities were handled separately by academic and membership affairs, the Eligibility Center and an enforcement staff. Luck's role, created by NCAA president Mark Emmert as he redesigned his senior staff, will combine all of those chores. According to the NCAA, Luck will "be charged with developing stronger integration among regulatory staffs, improving efficiency and strengthening relationships with NCAA colleges and universities."

Luck was selected by a search committee chaired by Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who famously said at the league's football media days in July, "I think it's not an understatement to say that cheating pays presently" because the NCAA's rules enforcement mechanism is "broken."

"Oliver is a valued colleague and a good friend," Bowlsby said. "This is an excellent fit for the NCAA and for college athletics. Oliver is smart, analytical, energetic and insightful. While this is a big loss for WVU and the Big 12 it is a tremendous hire for our national association."

Luck's departure from WVU, where he was a Rhodes Scholar finalist and graduated in 1982 as the school's all-time leading passer, follows a few close calls in the past. Bowlsby was hired by the Big 12 in 2012, which created an opening for a new athletic director at Stanford, which three of Luck's children attended. Andrew was a Heisman Trophy finalist for the Cardinal and Luck and Bowlsby grew close during those years.

Luck wasn't hired, but he was again pursued last year when DeLoss Dodds retired at Texas. Luck, who earned a law degree at Texas, was considered a favorite there until the job ultimately went to Arizona State's Steve Patterson. Luck remained in demand, though, and he'll again be immersed in project that will require immense improvements and additions.

After retiring as a professional football player, Luck was the vice president of business development for the NFL. He'd later work as the general manager of the Frankfurt Galaxy and the Rhein Fire in the newly created World League of American Football, which was backed by the NFL, before he was named President and CEO of the rebranded NFL Europe in 1996.

In 2001, Luck became the CEO of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and oversaw the construction of $1 billion sports and entertainment complex that included venues for the Astros, Texans and Rockets. In 2005, Luck was named the first president of the relocated Houston Dynamo franchise in the MLS, and he'd help the team win league titles in its first two years and fund an $80 million venue.

He'll encounter more challenges with the NCAA. In August alone, the NCAA witnessed two landmark changes. A federal judge said the organization couldn't prevent student-athletes from profiting if schools marketed their names, images and likenesses and that schools would have to pay into a trust fund to compensate players at a later date. Additionally, the NCAA granted its five major football conferences autonomy to change certain rules within Division I governance. Luck will now be in charge of overseeing the regulatory process and making sure it's able to monitor member institutions that have expanded power and responsibilities.

"Oliver is a great hire for President Emmert, the NCAA and everyone involved in collegiate athletics," said Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne, who was also on the search committee. "He understands the needs of universities, student-athletes and athletics departments. His experience working on campus will provide valuable insight for all of college athletics as it continues to evolve."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

WVU FOOTBALL: Michigan linebacker reportedly transferring to WVU http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219395 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219395 Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:49:19 -0500


DETROIT - The fallout from Michigan football coach Brady Hoke's firing Dec. 2 continues.

According to multiple reports, Michigan freshman linebacker Michael Ferns will transfer to West Virginia. A Michigan spokesperson Tuesday confirmed that Ferns asked for and received a release from his scholarship.

The 6-foot-3, 239-pound linebacker from St. Clairsville, Ohio, sat out this season as a true freshman.

Morgantown is 1 1/2 hours from Ferns' hometown. Ann Arbor is five hours away.

Ferns was a major factor in trying to build U-M's 2014 class, actively recruiting other players.

WVU SOCCER: Mountaineer earns honor http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219404 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219404 Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:07:40 -0500


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University women's soccer defender Kadeisha Buchanan has been named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Best XI First Team.

The sophomore, a member of the 2014 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire All-America First Team, earns her first career honor; she was named to the Best XI Freshman First Team in 2013. Buchanan, a Brampton, Ontario, native, has scored several postseason awards in the last month, including a spot on the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy semifinal list.

Also, freshman forward Michaela Abam was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Best XI Freshman First Team. A Houston native, Abam, the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, played in all 22 matches this season and paced the Mountaineers in points (16), goals (8) and game-winning goals (4). Her totals ranked No. 6, No. 4 and No. 2, respectively, in the Big 12. An NSCAA All-Central Region Second Team honoree, she earned six starts and tallied two two-goal performances.

WVU GOLF: Mountaineers announce home courses http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219406 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219406 Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:02:45 -0500


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University director of athletics Oliver Luck announced Tuesday that the Mountaineer golf team will practice and, starting next season, compete at eight home courses. Lakeview Golf Course, Mountainview Golf Course, The Links at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Mystic Rock, Nemacolin Golf Academy, Pete Dye Golf Club, The Pines Country Club and the Arnold Palmer Signature Course at Stonewall Resort will serve as WVU's home courses.

The Pines Country Club in Morgantown will be a local practice and competition course for the Mountaineers.

WVU had a golf team from 1933-82 and was reinstated in 2013. The Mountaineers will begin competition in July 2015.

Coaching the Mountaineers is former Mississippi State assistant Sean Covich.

WVU BASKETBALL: Mountaineer women move up to No. 18 in USA Today Poll http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219407 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219407 Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:02:41 -0500


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - After extending its win streak to six games, the West Virginia University women's basketball team moved up two spots to No. 18 in the USA Today Sports Coaches poll released on Tuesday.

The Mountaineers picked up wins over Duquesne (79-60) and IPFW (82-48) last week. Currently, WVU's 15-game home winning streak ranks fifth in the NCAA. On Monday, WVU climbed one spot to No. 22 in the Associated Press Poll.

West Virginia earned 231 votes in the poll, just 50 behind No. 17 Georgia. Three other Big 12 programs are in the poll: No. 3 Texas, No. 9 Baylor and No. 16 Oklahoma State.

West Virginia plays Marshall in the annual Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Charleston Civic Center.

WVU SOCCER: Three men's players earn scholar all-region http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219411 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141216/DM03/141219411 Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:57:15 -0500


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Three student-athletes from the West Virginia University men's soccer team have earned NSCAA Scholar All-East Region honors.

Senior Andy Bevin was named to the first team for the second time in his career with a 3.93 grade point average in management information systems, junior Jamie Merriam was named to the second team with a 3.32 GPA in biometric systems and junior Zak Leedom was named honorable mention with a 3.79 GPA in finance.

WVU FOOTBALL: White added to Senior Bowl roster http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219468 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141215/DM03/141219468 Mon, 15 Dec 2014 22:31:08 -0500


MOBILE, Ala. - West Virginia University wide receiver Kevin White is among the 12 players recently added to the roster for the Senior Bowl, set for 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

The total number of players invited to the Senior Bowl is 110 for the North and South squads.

White, a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award - given to the nation's top wide receiver - has 102 receptions for 1,318 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

"After transferring from junior college, (White) has blossomed into an All-American level player who projects well to the next level," said Phil Savage, the Senior Bowl executive director. "At 6-foot-3, he can elevate for the football, yet has the speed to run past people, too."

Joining White as the latest invitees is LSU offensive lineman La'el Collins, Florida State tight end Nick O'Leary, Missouri defensive end Markus Golden, Central Florida safety Clayton Geathers, Ohio State cornerback Doran Grant, Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson, Ohio State tight end Jeff Heuerman, Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett, Louisiana-Monroe placekicker and punter Justin Manton and Louisiana State fullback Connor Neighbors.

Senior Bowl practices begin on Tuesday, Jan. 20 with all of the practices and the game being televised by NFL Network.