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FanPulse: West Virginia fans support Holgorsen and Huggins, aren’t sold on Tony Gibson or NCAA Tournament chances

Our new effort to capture the voice of West Virginia fans, FanPulse shows Mountaineer fans are overall pretty satisfied how most things are going in Morgantown.

Welcome to The Smoking Musket FanPulse, a survey of Mountaineer fans powered by SurveyMonkey. Each week, we send a poll to 100+ plugged in fans. Mountaineer fans, sign up HERE to join FanPulse.


Last week, we asked for fans to help us out with a new initiative that we blatantly stole from the SB Nation NFL network this year: FanPulse. With our first poll, we took a baseline reading of where West Virginia Mountaineers fans heads are at on a number of issues

This week:

  • Today’s game against the Syracuse Orange in the Camping World Bowl
  • Current confidence level in the direction of multiple West Virginia athletic programs
  • Level of satisfaction for Dana Holgorsen, Tony Gibson, assistant coaches, Bob Huggins, Shane Lyons and the Big 12 Conference.

Will West Virginia win or lose in the 2018 Camping World Bowl?

I didn’t expect fans to be this evenly split on the outcome of this evening’s Camping World Bowl. Vegas sports books currently have the Mountaineers as 2.5 point underdogs, which seems to fall in line with fan expectations. This one could go either way.

How confident are Mountaineer fans in the current direction of the football program?

Even after a disappointing finish to the 2018 regular season and a fine recruiting class signing last week, overall fan confidence in the current direction of the program is high. I think it’s a good indication that Mountaineer fans have come around on Dana Holgorsen and trust him to keep the program trending in the right direction. The next poll backs that thinking up...

How satisfied are West Virginia fans with Dana Holgorsen?

76.9% really surprised me. Judging from comments on social media, I expected this one to be more in the 50-60% range, which means the minority on this one are the most vocal.

On the other hand...

How satisfied are West Virginia fans with Tony Gibson?

This is more in line with what I expected. I think the last couple games of the season greatly damaged Gibby’s standing with the Mountaineer fans. Gibson will remain West Virginia’s defensive coordinator in 2019, but a win this evening in the Camping World Bowl and a solid performance from the defense can go a long way in turning the fans back in his favor.

We also asked how satisfied fans are with the current group of assistant coaches - minus Tony Gibson - and 71.3% of fans are happy with what they’ve given the Mountaineer football program.

What do fans think about the West Virginia men’s basketball program?

This is very telling, in my opinion. Fans are very down on the West Virginia men’s basketball team, but believe this season is an anomaly and that Bob Huggins will have things back to normal in 2019-2020. It shows an enormous level of respect for the future Hall of Famer.

So, is there still hope for this season?

Less than 35% of Mountaineer fans believe we’ll make the NCAA tournament in March, and about 42% think we can finish with an even record in Big 12 Conference play - which starts on Wednesday. This means there’s about 7% that think we can finish with around 17 wins and still miss the NCAA tournament, which falls in line with the thinking that West Virginia will need to win 19-20 games this season to be a bubble team.

What about the rest?

We took some baseline readings on where things stand with a number of other topics.

  • 74.2% of fans are satisfied with Shane Lyons as West Virginia athletic director.
  • 64.9% of West Virginia fans are happy being in the Big 12 Conference, which is surprising. I’m not sure if the reasoning behind this is due to the constant officiating issues from Big 12 refs, lack of playing natural rivals, or just curmudgeonly people that think we should’ve stuck with the remnants of the Big East until something better came along.
  • 79.8% of fans are confident in the direction in which Mike Carey has the West Virginia women’s basketball team headed.
  • 74.9% of fans are confident in the direction in which Randy Mazey has the West Virginia baseball team headed.
  • Only 66.3% of fans are confident in the direction of the Mountaineer golf program. This could be due to the lack of exposure of the golf program.
  • West Virginia fans are extremely confident (87.8%) in Nikki Izzo-Brown and the West Virginia women’s soccer program. On the other side of that, 73.1% of fans are confident in the direction in which Marlon LeBlanc has men’s soccer program headed.
  • Rounding out the poll, we asked about overall confidence in the direction of the Mountaineer Olympic sports, including the rifle team, swimming, wrestling and gymnastics. An even 80% of fans believe the non-revenue sports are under the right leadership and are headed in the right direction.

Stay tuned as we continue to track fan sentiment with FanPulse. Polls will go out on a weekly basis through basketball season, and will move to at least a bi-weekly basis in the offseason. If you want your voice heard, SIGN UP HERE!