Luck’s Legacy: A Seed for WVU
By: Jeff Vickers (@JVickers78)
In 2010 Oliver Luck became the Athletic Director at WVU, and TCU was heading to the Big East. All was right with the world, or so we thought. West Virginia was going to keep a seat at the Big Boy table, as the entrance of TCU was going to keep the ever raided Big East Conference afloat. The Mountaineer football program was set up for a smooth transition from Head Coach at the Time Bill Stewart, to Luck’s choice offensive coordinator, and “Coach in Waiting” Dana Holgorsen.
When TCU to the Big East fell through, it set forth the tumbling of the dominoes, and left every Mountaineer fan wondering what was to become of their beloved Mountaineers.
I could go on and on about things, but I will leave that for the people that get paid for research and sports writing.
When Oliver Luck returned to Morgantown, the majority people that knew his background, knew that he would probably not retire as the Athletic Director of West Virginia University. Luck had been involved with a lot of “turn around” projects and then moved on. The same was to be expected here. And as to how successful this turn around project will be, that is to be seen.
Luck did step on toes, but that is to be expected in the Buddy atmosphere that ran WVU athletics for so long. Luck realized opportunities and made moves to align the University up for success. After all, Athletic Directors rarely get recognized for any of the successes that their departments have, but usually are the ones that take the falls for the short comings.
First, coaching changes. Again I refer to the Buddy system as to some of the coaches sticking around. I am not going to point out names of coaches out of respect, but some had grown stagnant, others had reached the ceiling on their progression, and others perhaps Luck saw as an improvement.
As far as the move to the Big 12, I am sure it was not Oliver Luck’s primary mission when he took the position. There were attempts to join the ACC and the SEC, those fell through for what ever reason. Oliver Luck knew that in order for WVU to progress with modern athletics, West Virginia was in need of finding a stronger sailing vessel than the Big East. It was the Big 12 that opened its’ arms to WVU. Yes, the transition has been tough, yes as a fan base you should expect double digit wins in a football season, but the program had to be rebuilt to handle this from both the inside and out. The competition that WVU has face in the last 3 years, is greater overall than WVU has faced in modern history.
With Oliver Luck, WVU was able to take advantage of his knowledge and get a $21 million baseball facility, one that only has few rivals to it in the country. Also, one of those coaching changes that Luck made has taken the WVU baseball team from a side note, to the forefront in a few short years. The combination of the coach and the stadium has a baseball recruiting class coming in next season that would please just about any of the traditional baseball powerhouses in the NCAA.
There are some media heads and left overs from the old regime that want to criticize and discredit every move that Luck has made. In their mindset, what has been the norm has gotten WVU by until this point. If it has not been obvious to this point, the times they are a changing. Luck’s design and thinking toward the future provide an opportunity for the flag ship university of the state of West Virginia to be a participant, not an observer.
Just for the record, I did do a little research, and leave you a few articles to add perspective.
Oliver has planted the seed of success for West Virginia University. Luck’s Legacy is yet to be determined. It is up to the next Athletic Director to care for the seed that Luck planted. If proper care is taken, WVU can blossom in to a program with success and prosperity like it has never known. In 10 years or so, hopefully fans and West Virginians can look back with pride, and say thank you Oliver Luck, thank you.