I'm not sure how to feel about the passing of Mickey Furfari. For everyone that bridged the gap of the internet age, he was omnipresent in the print sports media around West Virginia. Not for a little bit either. Harry Truman was president when he started his career covering the Mountaineers and it ended under our current president.
Toward the end of his career I wasn't kind to him. He seemed to be on the side of holding the program back. Basically against every move that Oliver Luck ever made. He was no fan of Dana Holgorsen and his mullet. In general, he hated the money in college sports and everything that came with it. And we can debate the Holgorsen thing, but moving to a power five conference and monetizing things that hadn't been touched before was something that needed to happen for the long term success of the program. That's just the lay of the land in college football.
To deviate from money grab, for lack of a better term is to cut your nose off to spite your face. And for me, I was in it for the program to join the ranks of those power five schools. But Mickey, he came from a place that NFL stars had to get a job in the off season to make ends meet. He came from a place where the sports writers didn't have a wall between them and the coaches or players. The game was the game and what happened away from the field wasn't the story. By contrast, the game is almost an afterthought at times these days.
That doesn't make him right and me wrong necessarily. But you can't really argue with the fact that the highest paid state employee in most of the country is a college football coach. It's not even close. The value we place on 12-13 games a year is evident. He never came right out and said it to my knowledge, but our priorities are way out of wack. I think in a way he was trying to tell us that, though.
I'm not here to say we should change our ways or to suggest a more noble path. I love college football. It's a business and a sport. And it's a dirty business at that. But it also provided and continues to provide some of the most spectacular moments that I could hope to witness.
Times change and people don't, usually. As I've written this I've had a million what if's running through my head of ways this could have been different. Because in the end I and I think the rest of the WVU community would have loved for Mickey's last few years to not have been defined by the controversy between him and the powers that be at WVU. But life isn't a fairy tale. I didn't agree with Mickey, but I respect him. If Jack Fleming was the voice of the West Virginia, then Mickey was the print voice of the Mountaineers. As long as Mountaineers play football, Mickey's words and a part of him will live on.