By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
It seems fitting that Morgantown’s City Council has decided to honor West Virginia’s 2011 champion football team.
Mayor Jim Manilla will preside at a committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday evening, Jan. 31, in the council chamber.
Accepting the symbol of recognition on behalf of the Mountaineers will be Morgantown squad members Ryan Nehlen and Tyler Anderson.
Nehlen, a University High graduate, was a junior wide receiver last season. Anderson, a Morgantown High graduate, was a sophomore linebacker.
WVU finished with a 10-3 record, a share of the Big East championship, and a memorable 70-33 victory over Clemson in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4, 2012.
It was only the eighth time in school history that WVU won as many as 10 games in a season.
Coach Bob Huggins had no fear of possible stage fright for West Virginia’s six freshman players for the men’s basketball games against St. John’s.
“I think it’s exciting playing in Madison Square Garden,” he said. “It’s a great thing to play there.
“I can’t imagine our young players not being excited playing in the world’s largest city and the world’s largest arena.”
Huggins also believes playing in the Big East Conference’s postseason tournament in the Garden is good for its teams.
He did not play in the famed showplace himself because St. John’s wasn’t on WVU’s schedule when he was a player here in the 1970s.
Have you noticed that intercollegiate athletics continue to go out of control, financially, from coast to coast?
WVU, for example, now is playing its head football and basketball coaches more than $1 million annually — plus incentives.
What’s more, offensive and defensive coordinators are being paid $500,000 or more.
And, as expected, ticket-buyers are feeling the effects. Many longtime, loyal fans no longer can afford to purchase tickets.
I chuckle at times recalling that the late Gentleman Gene Corum, West Virginia’s head coach from 1960-65, was paid a mere $15,000 a year!
And he also taught classes in the School of Physical Education in addition to coaching.