Morgantown, West Virginia – If Rich Rodriguez was asked to return to Morgantown to be the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers, he would take it in a heartbeat.
Rodriguez, now 59, has admitted that leaving West Virginia University for Michigan in 2007 was a mistake and although he’s happy enough as the head coach at Jacksonville State, a potential opportunity to come home and make things right would simply be too delicious for him to pass up.
Since leaving West Virginia, Rodriguez has not matched the success he had with the Mountaineers. In fact, one could argue that he has failed at Michigan (15-22) and Arizona (43-35 before being fired amid sexual harassment allegations that were later proved false).
But his time at West Virginia was nothing short of magical. Rodriguez was 32-5 in his final three seasons with the Mountaineers and although he left on less than ideal terms, he is still viewed by many as the very man who could lead the football program back to prominence.
Unfortunately, the idea of Rodriguez returning home appears to be somewhat of a distant possibility. Although he has been cleared of any wrongdoing legally, he does carry a tremendous amount of baggage.
Particularly in the state of West Virginia.
Although loved by many, Rodriguez is intensely, blisteringly despised by others. In other words, he’s simply too divisive. At a time in which West Virginia needs a slam dunk hire to come in and unite the fanbase again, he would do the opposite.
Hiring Rodriguez may prove to be a brilliant move, or it could be the very thing that ruins an athletic director’s career, and that’s just not a risk that Shane Lyons is going to take at this time.
Rich Rodriguez has done so much for West Virginia University and him returning home to lead the Mountaineers would be the greatest story ever, but unfortunately it’s likely a very improbable, far-fetched dream right now.