For many across the Mountain State, Mountaineer Football is much more than a team or an organization. The Old Gold and Blue is something that the “1.8 million strong” identifies with. Fall Saturdays spent at Milan Puskar Stadium with 60,000 of the best fans in the world is a feeling that simply cannot be described by diehard Mountaineers. As we move into 2020 awaiting the second year of “The Climb” under Head Coach Neal Brown, this program could not be where it is today without the great Don Nehlen.

Today, the greatest coach to ever roam the sidelines at West Virginia University celebrates his 84th birthday. Many Mountaineer fans have taken to social media to express their gratitude to the former head coach, while also wishing him another great year. Hired in 1980, Coach Nehlen spent 21 seasons as the man in charge of Mountaineer Football. Before his retirement in 2000, Don Nehlen accounted for 149 wins, the most ever by any coach at WVU. Taking over a program that had not experienced much success prior, Coach Nehlen was able to take the Mountaineers to heights that they had never been to before. During his tenure, the Mountaineers experienced two undefeated seasons, in 1988 and 1993. An accomplishment that the program has yet to achieve again since.

As this program moves forward into the future, we must recognize the past and give credit where credit is due. Had Don Nehlen never been hired in 1980, the prestige of the Mountaineer Football program may not be what it is today. We owe everything that is the most prideful program in the country to Nehlen. The next time we as a fanbase are celebrating another touchdown, singing along to Take Me Home, Country Roads after another victory, or simply reflecting what it means to be a Mountaineer, we need to remember that it was Don Nehlen’s efforts and accomplishments that brought West Virginia University football to what it is today. What a better time than his 84th birthday that we as the fans turn to the university, Shane Lyons, and E. Gordon Gee and demand that Coach Nehlen gets the treatment he so deserves…GIVE THE MAN A STATUE.