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Bob Hertzel vs. Oliver Luck For The Soul Of WVU

Sometimes Bob Hertzel confuses his tweets with his DMs, and sometimes we get a good laugh. What does the longtime WVU beat scribe REALLY think of head coach Dana Holgorsen? Evidently that he needs bigger shoes.

A funny thing happened while I was taking a quick break at work scrolling absentmindedly through the Twitter feed. I saw Bob Hertzel's familiar visage and glanced at his latest tweet and then glanced again cause it didn't make sense.


Clearly Bob got a little confused and thought he was sending either a Twitter direct message or a text message and accidentally let his 2,773 followers see what he REALLY thought about West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen. If you break out your Bob Hertzel decoder ring (drink more Ovaltine) you can learn that he was intending to send a private message to former WVU sports information director Shelly Poe who currently holds that position at Auburn University (he confirmed that as his next tweet was aimed at her and just said "oops.")

Oops indeed.

So I retweeted it a couple times and some folks got a hold of it and we all got a good laugh because one of those folks was Spencer Hall of Every Day Should Be Saturday. If you aren't familiar with Spencer he loves all things WVU and did his standard nice job of finding absurdity in the silly and trivial. Anytime a post includes:

*The governor of West Virginia is not on Twitter, and only communicates via flying messenger squirrels. They're slow, but so damn cute, even with a touch of rabies makin' 'em all nibbly-like.

you've had a pretty good laugh.

Having said all that I just wanted to leave it with a few parting shots.

  • Bob is perfectly welcome to his opinion. Having said that I would bear that in mind when reading anything he writes (which I don't often do). He's coming from a certain place and anything he writes - say an evisceration of Luck and the athletic department about the firing of longtime wrestling coach Craig Turnbull that turned up the same day as his tweet - is pretty well tethered to that place. In fact I bet most of Bob's fact-finding comes from that place and is aimed at staying in that place. So if you're looking for any objective analysis of WVU sports, you've come to the wrong place with Bob.
  • There is a growing rift between the newspaper media that cover WVU and the Mountaineer athletic department. While Bob may be alone as the only person still using the term "clown" to disparage in 2014, he's not alone in his general sentiment. I know I've heard from one other writer deep frustration with the way Holgorsen and his staff handle player availability. I can't even say I disagreed with his logic. When players struggle in a game, you probably do them a disservice by shielding them from a media that is obligated to write about them with or without their comments. Maybe Hertzel should craft an articulate column that addresses this very valid concern.
  • There is a certain segment of the WVU media - namely the old-schoolers - who are unwilling to make peace with the way big-time college athletics has changed in the past 10-15 years (paging Micky Furfari). They are unwilling to realize the ground was shifting beneath WVU's feet in 2011 and it was a choice between making difficult decisions or dying. They are unwilling to realize that, in their visible capacity as the university's and the state's front door, the athletic department can't be run like a mom and pop shop - it's a multimillion dollar business that requires discipline, attention to detail and accountability. These are not fun things to get used to and I doubt it's very fun working at a place making dramatic changes to that end. But it is a necessity. "That's is the way it's always been" is a mentality that holds the state of West Virginia back in a variety of places - starting with politics. Should we allow one of the most visible symbols of the state to be similarly limited?

Having said all that it was still pretty damn funny - and all the more because Hertzel didn't offer any sort of apology (aside from deleting the tweet) nor is he likely to. It will be interesting to see if there is any reaction from the athletic department. I'd guess no as they'd only be growing the story, but nobody likes to be called names.

Just be mindful of that tweet key, Bob. It can tell us a little bit more than you'd like.