ESPN The Magazine goes inside WVU

August, 10, 2011
8/10/11
3:00
PM ET
Ryan McGee of ESPN The Magazine goes inside what exactly happened this summer in the head-coach-in-waiting experiment that went awry at West Virginia. Insider

He makes a point that is worth repeating:
There was a time, albeit briefly, when HCIW was considered the perfect road map for a smooth transition of power. When it works, the process keeps the legend in charge while putting the most coveted coordinator on hold, promising him the top job before his inevitable departure to take it somewhere else. Some of the nation's most storied programs were HCIW believers. Then one attempt failed. And then another collapsed. Even schools that managed to pull it off now admit they paid a price. Still, the believers hung on.

But not now. Not since June, when WVU's once-beloved head coach, Bill Stewart, was shown the door after being accused of trying to torpedo Dana Holgorsen, the heir who was forced upon him. The two coaches, along with athletic director Oliver Luck, unwittingly managed to burn down HCIW's final remnants as if it were an old couch the night after beating Pitt.

"I don't see how it can come back from this," says Jimbo Fisher, who ascended to the throne at Florida State in 2010 via the HCIW plan. He's also a West Virginia native. "In the end, it just puts too much strain on the people involved. Too much strain on the kids."

"At first, it's like, well, at least people are talking about West Virginia football nationwide, I guess that's good," says WVU quarterback Geno Smith. "But about the 50th day in a row you're on 'SportsCenter' it's like, okay, let's get out of the spotlight until winning games puts us there. I don't want to answer more questions. I just want to play."

Luck, Stewart and Holgorsen are not allowed to give details on what happened this summer. But even West Virginia fans are none to eager to talk about the fiasco that put them in the national spotlight, McGee finds. Everyone just wants to move on.

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