It is a never ending saga, that contingent of Mountaineer fans that pine for the return of Rich Rodriguez to Morgantown. It would not matter if Coach Holgorsen took WVU to the promise land undefeated beating Alabama by 50 in the BCS National Championship. Rodriguez supporters would say, “RichRod would have won by 60”.
Many RichRod supporters got a kick to the gut when WVU hired Shane Lyons, not because he was a bad choice but because he has no ties to Rodriguez. Whit Babcock has always been the guy tied to RichRod and therefore has always been that choice to take the reigns of the athletic department by those who remain close to Rodriguez.
Lyons is a knowledgeable athletic director with enough experience and success prior to his tenure at WVU to continue to lead the Mountaineer athletic department in the right direction. Further, Dana Holgorsen has started to build a program that saw a big turn around last season. RichRod fans, I’m now coming in for the kill shot.
Multiple sources have indicated that Whit Babcock has already approached current Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez about replacing Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. While I was not directly told the two had met regarding the potential vacancy, it was strongly indicated to me there had been a meeting in the not-so-distant past.
Babcock and Rodriguez developed a working relationship during their tenures at WVU. While Rodriguez was the head football coach for the Mountaineers Babcock was the executive director of development for athletics at WVU. Last season Rodriguez signed a contract extension that would keep him at Arizona through the 2019 season. However, the buyout for said contract is low unless West Virginia University gets involved in which case it doubles. Regardless, the buyout is well within ANY schools means totaling only $500,000 after January 2015.
I am also told that Beamer has at least two more years remaining before he could potentially walk away from a very successful career. Beamer has started to see a decline in health over the last few seasons and many around the program feel that he is nearing the end of this tenure in Blacksburg.
Further, Virginia Tech has seen a steep decline in offensive production over the last few seasons, something that guy out in Arizona could rectify in just a few short years. I am told that Beamer would like to coach through the 2016 season. There is a push for the Battle at Bristol between Virginia Tech and Tennessee to break the record for the largest attendance in the history of college athletics. That game will take place at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 10, 2016.
After the 2016 season Beamers position will presumably be reevaluated per sources. If it is determined the Hokie football program needs to go in a different direction OR Beamer decides to retire, well, you know where I am going with this. Rich Rodriguez could be the head coach of the 2017 Virginia Tech Hokies. Interestingly enough, this would be just in time for the Hokies to gear up against the Mountaineers who play each other September 2, 2017 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
WVU could definitely see Rich Rodriguez again, but he will be on the opposite sideline coaching one of the most despised rivals in Mountaineer football history, the Virginia Tech Hokies. Also worth noting, Rich Rodriguez and Arizona have been recruiting high school talent in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. BGS will have a full article on this in the coming weeks.