How Pat McAfee (and Rich Rodriguez) Can Save West Virginia Football

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — There is no more relevant and important West Virginia alum today than Pat McAfee. McAfee, who was a kicker/punter for the Mountaineers from 2005-2008, now hosts his own show called The Pat McAfee Show and is still a massive fan of the West Virginia football program. Also a co-host on ESPN’s College Gameday, McAfee consistently mentions the team and has given the Mountaineers a great deal of national publicity, despite their mediocre results on the field.

In 2021, McAfee donated over $6 million to various causes, including sports teams at his hometown high school Plum, WVU’s Children’s Hospital, and a football program for under-privileged youth run by former teammate Robert Mathis. However, McAfee has seemingly stayed away from financially supporting the football program, and it’s likely that it’s hard to get behind a team that goes 5-7 or 6-6 every year. In addition, McAfee has not made any appearances in Morgantown or spent any real quality time around the program or the players.  

McAfee recently said the following: “West Virginia fans are about done with old Neal Brown,” McAfee said. “Because he’s several years in and it should not be such a miracle to think that we could beat Penn State this far into his tenure. We’re in the Big 12. We’ve got a lot of money. We’ve got an NIL thing that spends money. Rich Rod is who a lot of people want. Dude, if he were to go back to West Virginia…”

Pat McAfee is one of the most recognized names in the sports industry today and West Virginia University is missing out on a huge opportunity by not capitalizing on its most marketable alum. One way to get McAfee actively involved in the football program and instantly bring excitement back to Morgantown is, of course, to hire Rich Rodriguez. McAfee played for Rodriguez at West Virginia and has remained a huge supporter of his, calling Jacksonville State football “must see television” every week.

While many will say that Rodriguez has no business returning to West Virginia, it would instantly bring back national attention and almost certainly bring back Pat McAfee to Morgantown as the program’s most fervent supporter. If West Virginia brings Rich Rodriguez back, gets Pat McAfee fully behind the program and reignites the passion that once existed during Rodriguez’s time with the team, and it could save the Mountaineers from becoming irrelevant and bring West Virginia football back to its former glory.