Oliver Luck needs to take a bow today. And a much deserved break.
WVU's AD was much maligned last spring for his succession plan to replace Bill Stewart with Dana Holgorsen. To some he was disloyal to a "good man" like Stewart by forcing him to leave after three consecutive nine-win seasons and three straight bowl games. To others, Luck was foolish to think he could keep a civil atmosphere in the football offices by forcing the head coach to resign and making him a figure head for an entire season.
What I celebrate today is Oliver Luck's commitment to WVU's athletic future. If being loyal to WVU fans and true to his instincts meant having to send Elmer Fudd packing (incidentally, we discovered that Stew wasn’t such a nice guy after all), then God bless the AD. Luck’s only mistake was not being more "unkind" to Stewart and showing him the door from the outset.
Oliver Luck is my Orange Bowl MVP! In one year he has made the difficult and often painful moves necessary to get WVU athletics moving toward unprecedented heights. His levelheaded guidance through "Stewmageddon" and the chaos of conference realignment has been rewarded. Last night’s Orange Bowl "Mountaineer Massacre" (SI.com’s headline) made this past turbulent year pay off.
Today it is difficult to remember the mess that was last June or the hysteria of conference realignment. In the afterglow of the best night in WVU sports history (simultaneous BIG football and basketball wins), I’ve managed to forget how nail biting it was this past fall to wonder whether we’d be stuck in Big East Hell forever. What I do recall is that through it all, "Ollie" stayed as cool as a cucumber, never flinching or equivocating.
WVU isn’t completely out of the woods regarding the timing of its move to the Big 12. However, knowing that the former QB Luck is still calling the plays for WVU Athletics, makes the future look as bright as today’s Miami sun.
Oliver Luck, I sure hope that you and your son Andrew are enjoying a beer together and chilling under a palm tree on Miami Beach today. You deserve it.