Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


April 25, 2014

Just a few thoughts on WVU athletics

MORGANTOWN — Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:

•Joshua Arbaugh of Morgantown recently went down to The Resort at Glade Springs and won the West Virginia Golf Association Wendy’s Amateur Tour Event.

He shot a one-under-par 71 on the Cobb Course on Tuesday The Summersville native was still smiling about his feat when I saw him working at Morgantown’s HealthWorks the next day.

Arbaugh is employed there as a physical therapist. He works on his golf game whenever time permits, says Jack Brautigam, that firm’s vice president.

•An interesting full paged open letter to WVU President E. Gordon Gee by John Raese appeared on page 3-A of Wednesday’s edition of The Dominion Post. It dealt with the recent firing of Craig Turnbull, veteran wrestling coach of 36 years, by athletic director Oliver Luck.

Raese, Greer Industries Inc., chairman of the board, talked about Gee’s defense before the university’s Faculty Senate meeting recently. That huge letter’s headline read: “Re: Who do you trust, Turnbull or Luck?”

I thought John Raese raised some significant questions and offered numerous facts about Luck’s handling of this continuing widespread issue. It is the hottest of the Ohio native’s three-year-or-so tenure as A.D.

•In this connection, it should be noted that the West Virginia Radio Corporation, led by Raese, seemingly long ago filed a lawsuit against WVU’s handling of media rights bidding. Not only Luck, but former university president Jim Clements were named as defendants in that action.

So were the institution’s Board of Governors, some individually, and others.

Incidentally, like Luck, Raese is a former WVU student-athlete.

•It is good to see that the West Virginia University baseball team sports a three-game winning streak. In soundly whipping Oklahoma 9-3, Maryland 14-1, and Marshall 9-3, the Mountaineers scored 33 times on 44 hits.

That burst against a trio of quality college clubs has to be impressive. Could that be some sort of a short mark in the program’s history?

Coach Randy Mazy, who’s in his second season as Greg VanZant’s successor, told his players before ending a recent seven-game losing streak, “Keep your heads up.”

WVU, with a 21-16 overall and 4-7 in the Big 12, opens a three-game conference series against Kansas State at Hawley Field today.

•I’m told that the WVU athletic department is forming an advisory committee of fans, “with hopes of enhancing their game experience.”

May I suggest that the university could do that simply by winning more games in football and men’s basketball in particularly — the sooner, the better. What’s more, reducing the outrageous prices of tickets, beer and other money-making costs at the commercial stands.

Were I a fan, I would not join any such advisory panel in what, to me, is a department with more turmoil than ever created in the school’s history. That’s truly sad for one to feel he must say about his alma mater.

•Finally, I hope those who believe college baseball faces a fine future with the construction of a new ballpark in the University City Mall area are proven correct.

That level of baseball competition has never drawn well in my 70 years of sports writing. For a major reason, in my opinion, the success of the Pittsburgh Pirates to attract this area’s baseball fans on a consistent basis for lo these many past years lessens the interest in baseball here.

WVU actually drew only slightly more than 600-some fans for each of its past two games here. For the first ever Big 12 series at Hawley Field, total attendance was 4,132 for the three-game set.

Keep in mind, total enrollment at WVU is 33,000 students.

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