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Burying The Hatchet: It's Time To Welcome Rich Rodriguez Back To West Virginia

It's time to let bygones be bygones.

When I turned on my local sports report this weekend, I saw an interview with Rich Rodriguez as he played in a Glenville-area golf fundraiser.  Specifically, Rodriguez was talking about the potential of sitting down and talking football with WVU Offensive Coordinator (and Head-Coach-In-Waiting) Dana Holgorsen.  This was surprising to me, not because of the thought of them sitting down, but because Rodriguez was being so forthright with his want to have such a meeting.  This was a different Rodriguez.

The signs have been there for a few months.  A fired Rodriguez, or at least one that was on his way to being out at Michigan, had started to lay inroads to coming back to the Mountain State.  Not in any official capacity, mind you, but just publicly setting foot inside the state borders.  A few years ago, that would have been nearly impossible.  Sure, there were reports of Rodriguez visiting family in the state -- but when it's news that someone is just in the state, you know that person is certainly persona non grata.

That shouldn't be the case anymore.

When Rodriguez left Morgantown, he left in a terrible way.  A terrible way for him, for us, for everyone.  Everyone, of course, except for those watching the WVU program try its best to collapse, which was most of the nation.

The method of his leaving may have been less than ideal (what's the antithesis of hyperbole?), but so was our reaction.  Both sides went to extremes.  Then again, as young Flanagan so aptly taught us in Cocktail, "Jesus, everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn't end."  And, safe to say, the WVU-Rodriguez marriage ended badly.  I believe it was a reflection of the successes we had seen together that left WVU fans feeling so betrayed.  And Rodriguez, the favorite son, scorched the earth with his departure, making it easier for him to make the decision to leave his home state and alma mater fit better in his psyche.

But time changes things.  It has a way of dulling what was once extremely sharp.

My hatred of Rich Rodriguez has certainly dulled.  When I saw him on that newscast, I didn't hate him at all.  In fact, I questioned whether I ever hated him.  Instead of hate, a very different emotion struck me: intrigue.  Rodriguez is out of a job and looking for something to do.  We have a young(er) offensive coordinator who might benefit from learning from a former coach that has important head coaching experience.  Surely, two talented offensive coaches talking shop would help both, and since one is our current coach, I will take that help.

Before I go any further, let me say this: I don't see a scenario that involves Rodriguez as a coach at WVU, regardless of capacity.  While letting bygones be bygones is one thing, I think the WVU program is better off without Rodriguez.  While there are merits to his offense (hence why I think him talking to Holgorsen is a good idea), there seem to be fatal flaws in his running of a program.  However doomed the employment decision was in the first place, his tenure at Michigan asked a lot of questions of Rodriguez's skills as a football coach.  Those can be answered, but hopefully not at West Virginia.

Not everyone will share my views on Rodriguez.  There are a few out there who's hatred with continue to burn bright.  And while I understand that, I just think it's a waste of time.  Hating him briefly was therapeutic, but hating him long-term is destructive.  Rodriguez helped make WVU the BCS contending program that it is today.  He's not the sole reason, but he's a big part of it.  In his own way, he's trying to make amends here in the Mountain State. I think that's admirable.

While he may never be the favorite son again, I think the least we can do is meet him halfway.