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Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Rodriguez family harassed, threatened since WVU resignation

Associated Press

GRANT TOWN, W.Va. -- Relatives of Rich Rodriguez have been harassed and threatened in the three weeks since his resignation as West Virginia football coach.

His mother, Arleen Rodriguez, said her teen grandson received a death threat and found other harassing notes taped to his locker at East Fairmont High School. Arleen said her 12-year-old granddaughter had to be escorted to classes.

Mountaineers fans furious over Rodriguez's Dec. 16 decision to accept the coaching job at Michigan also vandalized his home near Morgantown, hanging signs on a fence and tossing a mailbox in the yard.

"He put seven years into WVU and now everybody thinks he's garbage," his mother said. "Think like a parent. That's all I can say. Think about it. Think about what you're doing."

The backlash has been even more venomous on the Facebook social networking site, where dozens of groups with profanity-laced names have formed, devoted to wishing ill for Rodriguez and his family.

A similar but short-lived fury boiled up last month against Mountaineer kicker Pat McAfee, who received angry text messages and had his car vandalized after missing two field goals in West Virginia's 13-9 loss to Pitt. The loss knocked WVU out of national championship contention, but the team went on without Rodriguez to beat Oklahoma in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

Several wealthy football boosters claim there was behind-the-scenes tension between Rodriguez and the WVU administration, but the coach has yet to discuss the matter publicly.

"I don't think he felt wanted at WVU any more," his mother said.