So, the football coach of WVU decided he wants to go to Michigan.
I'm not a football fan, haven't watched a full college game in probably ten years, but I listen to other people talk about WVU football a lot. Rodriguez leaving hurts, but not just in the expected bowl game/wide world of West Virginia sports way. It lays a hurting on the ridiculous hope that smart, talented people from the state are willing to take less in order to live a bucolic, near perfect life among the mountains.
It hurts because Rodriguez is one of us. He's a local boy. It hurts because this refers right back to all the yammering about attracting the Creative Class, about finding ways to stave off the brain drain in West Virginia. Bringing in new people, getting people to stay has always been hinged on some goofy idea, that despite being virtually last on every list for health, earning and education, living in West Virginia is attractive because we still have trees and streams, because we have values, because we're good people.
Yeah, being a hillbilly is very appealing. Remember, this is how people see us. This is what we project.
But I come not to bury Rodriguez, but to praise him. I come not to pick at wounds, but to note this could be a good thing. This might be a bucket of bracing water tossed in the state's face. This is something that might get noticed. If you want to improve the state's chances, keep a top level football coach, raise the quality of education, improve health, you better be willing to pay... and I don't mean just a salary.
Enough wasn't done to make Rodriguez want to stay. That's the truth of it. You can hem and haw and talk about all the things given to him. You can say he was given everything he asked for (or pretty close to it), that he's ungrateful and sure... I can dig that. He certainly looks like a cocksucker for posing as the state's die-hard golden boy then flipping over when he was given a better offer, but maybe his asking price and his real price weren't the same thing. Not enough was done to figure out what he really wanted, instead of what he would take. WVU, the state of West Virginia, didn't come up with what he wanted.
Otherwise, he wouldn't be leaving.
Rodriguez and the state's future are part of the same equation. I think, for things to get better, to really get better, West Virginia has to stop looking for the asking price and negotiate from there. It's a buyer's market, not a seller's market. We have to figure out what development, the creative class or whatever really wants. What we got now ain't it.