Mike Garrison speaks!


So I had the pleasure (for lack of a better term) of stumbling onto the Daily Mail’s article talking about former (and disgraced) WVU President Mike Garrison. When I was up at WVU, I had Mike Garrison for a Political Science class while he was President. Needless to say, the speakers the class got were awesome. The first day of class, we had Governor Joe Manchin as our speaker. Of course, when I asked him a question that had choice a or choice b as an answer, he gave me the typical politician’s answer and “choice c’d” it. Asshole.

Anyway, I’m going to do something I’ve never done on this blog before, and that’s “FJM-style” this article. FJM stands for “Fire Joe Morgan“, an awesome sports blog that’s not active anymore. One example of “FJM-style” is on their own blog. Another example is at Kissing Suzy Kolber, when they do it weekly to Peter King, and other asshole sportswriters and bloggers, including Mike Florio.

While I liked Mike Garrison as a person during my time in his class (the bastard gave me a C even though I know I should have had at least a low A), his leadership skills left a lot to be desired. OK, he had ZERO leadership skills, and was pretty much a Manchin lapdog. Why am I talking about this on here? Simple, he had a lot to do with WVU athletics, namely the departure of Rich Rodriguez to Michigan and the signing of Bill Stewart; as well as the signing of Bob Huggins. OK, enough of my history at WVU… my responses will be in bold.

Garrison reflects on controversial term as WVU president

MORGANTOWN – Former West Virginia University president Mike Garrison has had time to reflect on his brief term at the school and the perceived heavy-handed way some feel he performed his duties.
Yeah, such as how he had so much unfinished business left at WVU, including handing out degrees to everyone that sniffed his jock.

The partner at Spillman, Thomas & Battle – the law firm where he was employed before taking the WVU position in September 2007 and where he returned in September 2008 after resigning his post that June – said his term may have been mischaracterized.
WTF, dude!? You were the one on orders from that douchebag Joe Manchin, not everyone else at WVU! In fact, I saw him yanking at your puppet strings on the first day of West Virginia Government! Or, maybe it was something else…

He’s not ready to go into detail about the controversial time he spent in Morgantown.
He’s missing out on a lofty payday by keeping his fat yapper shut.

Then again, Garrison says, it’s a good idea to retell his story, although he’s not sure in what form.
Wow… he contradicts himself. You should have heard him actually try to TEACH a class! I’m still mad I got a “C” instead of an “A.”

“I do have the bug,” he said to the Daily Mail in what he presented as his first interview on his presidency as it relates to athletics.
Actually, that bug you have is something called “image repair” and you’re so desperate you’ll pay the Daily Mail to lob softball questions at you.

“I’ve spent some time collecting my thoughts and my notes on the matter. I never say, ‘Never.’ I think it’s important. I do think it’s important.
So, you ARE writing a book on your brief tenure as WVU El Presidente? BOOK SIGNING LINES WILL BE LONG AT THE TOWN CENTER MALL!

“I think it’s important that people understand that in this day of new media – quick media, blog media, comments-at-the-end-of-a-story media – that people understand the entirety of the story. Usually what you see is the tip of the iceberg. The rest is under water.”
WOOOO!!! BLOGS!!! Well, it was one blog in particular that was skeptical of Boss Garrison since Day 1. HK WAS RIGHT!

Garrison still gets quizzed about buyouts and contracts and things he became associated with as WVU battled its former football coach, Rich Rodriguez.
And let the nightmares of that infamous month (December 2007) in WVU Football begin…

“I actually get calls in the sports media world saying, ‘We’d like to retell this story,’ ” Garrison said.
/wakes up drenched in sweat

He always declines. Not once, he says, has he given an interview on his time in office since he left the university in September 2008.
“No, because I’m keeping all the details to myself because I’m writing a book on it. A BOOK, I TELL YA!” I wonder if his teacher’s assistants from the 07 class will be the ones writing and editing it.

But in February C. Peter Magrath, who succeeded Garrison on an interim basis, wrote an article that was published by The Chronicle of Higher Education on his time spent in Garrison’s wake.
“I tell ya what, the boy left so much shit here for me to clean up. Did you know that Stewart Hall was nothing more than his personal playhouse? He even left his XBox in the office hooked up to the TV.”

Garrison disagreed with some of Magrath’s opinions and representations, calling the piece  “baseless” and “intellectually just completely dishonest.”
“I always cleaned up my office after using it. I don’t know where he found that XBox at… I could have sworn I put that damn thing away!”

“I read it,” he said. “I had to read it twice because it was, historically, a re-write of history.”
“I had to read it again to make sure I pronounced all the words right the first time, such as “Presidency.””

Then, in May, an article appeared in the Daily Mail explaining a clause in the contract of men’s basketball Coach Bob Huggins. He is to be paid the “mean” salary among Big East coaches, and even Garrison, who constructed the contract along with his general counsel, Alex Macia, and Huggins and his agent, Richard Katz, admits it’s a rarity.
Well, Huggins is paid a hell of a “mean” salary now. I just wanna know why Garrison and his legal lackey Macia (who happened to be another WV Govt Class speaker) were drawing up the contract. WHERE WAS ED PASTILONG, OUT TO LUNCH!?

What stood out to Garrison was how WVU officials said they couldn’t speculate on the reason for the clause since the previous administration was responsible.
The previous administration… ah yes, good ole Mace Hardesty. Another one I didn’t like, either.

That day something clicked within Garrison, who believes he was unfairly perceived as “heavy-handed” and a “micromanager” when he served as president.
“So, people actually see what I did during my Presidency? Oh shit… TIME TO HIRE A PR FIRM TO CLEAN THIS MESS UP!”

He said he felt compelled to explain not only the purpose of the clause, but also the process of creating and including it.
“I’m doing exactly what my hired guns at the PR firm told me to do. They also told me to shake hands and smile.”

It was a small part of a larger idea. He said a revisiting of history might cause many to reassess his term, even though it ended because of the Heather Bresch eMBA scandal, which he concedes was a “glaring issue.”
Well, no shit, Sherlock! YOU GAVE YOUR HIGH SCHOOL PROM DATE A DEGREE! I could have saved so much money had I just kissed your ass as opposed to PAYING FOR MY EDUCATION!

“When the Rodriguez (lawsuit) started, there were 4-to-1 people saying, ‘This is terrible; it’s awful,'” he said. “Now I think with people – and they’ll stop me on the street when they see me now – people say, ‘Thank you so much for standing up for that.’
Can’t disagree with that one. It’s kind of fun seeing Richie-poo on the hot seat in Michigan. CHECK OUT FANSIDED’S MICHIGAN BLOG! /plug!

“When it started, people were just against it. They thought it was awful. Nobody wants to see bad, negative things about the university.”
Boy, that’s a lofty thing to say considering this was shortly before the shit hit the fan with Heather Bresch.

As for Huggins’ contract, Garrison strongly contests the suggestion that he and his chief of staff, Craig Walker, excluded the athletic department. He also remembers people saying a lifetime deal was a bad idea. Nothing like it had been done at WVU.
So, that’s where Ed Pastilong was… he was TOLD TO GO OUT TO LUNCH!

“It’s very interesting now to run into folks who at the time said I was just doing this for my own personal reasons,” Garrison said. “I had a lot of people saying I was giving the farm away. I didn’t hear many people saying that this year.”
Well, you did screw up the whole WVU Farm thing on the Ag Sciences Campus… so, you did give the farm away, per se. (Yes, there’s an actual WVU Farm on Stewartstown Road.)

Garrison concedes he was deeply involved in athletics, but he says conditions he inherited upon his entry into office forced him to be.
Because Joe Manchin told you to. Remember, it was Manchin’s heavy-handed control that made us play Mooshall University in the “Friends of Joe Coal Bowl.”

Garrison was named president in April 2007 and discovered later Rodriguez had not signed the contract he had agreed to the previous December. Macia then asked aloud one day if anyone had seen a contract signed by Huggins, who was hired in April. No one had.
So, if he didn’t sign the contract… oh geez… and Huggins didn’t either!? THE HARDESTY REGIME WAS JUST FOCUSED ON IMPORTING MORE JERSEY SLIME INTO MORGANTOWN!

“I was frankly shocked,” Garrison said. “That dominated – particularly in the Rodriguez arena – that dominated so much of my time when I came in.”
Again, because Joe Manchin told you to, you putz.

He set an immediate goal to get signed contracts from both coaches.
Big goal. LOFTY GOAL!

“I understand you work hard to get named coach and you should be proud you got it, but you need to be a good business person and get the contract done,” he said. “And, yes, sometimes we as a university and as a state struggle as a stopover for people.
“Sign on this here dotted line, and this signature means you can’t go anywhere until this piece of paper says you can.”

“Here we had coaches who wanted to be here and I wanted to lock them up. It’s no secret there was a raid on our coaches at that time.”
Rich Rodriguez and Mike Brown didn’t want to be in Morgantown, as we saw in December 2007… AAAAAHHHH THE NIGHTMARES!!!

Rodriguez signed his last WVU contract shortly before the 2007 season opener. Garrison first worked on getting Huggins to sign his initial contract, and in the negotiations both sides decided a longer deal would be acceptable to everyone. Huggins signed the lifetime deal in May 2008.

“I remember talking to Coach Huggins about it and the discussion was, ‘What are your goals?’ and he said, ‘I want to win the Big East and I want to win the NCAA Championship.’
Big East- check. NCAA Championship- we’ll get those Duke jerks one day.

“I had every belief the guy could do both. It seemed like a modest request for him to ask to be paid the mean of other coaches. It seemed like a no-brainer to me.”
So, you have high expectations for Bob Huggins, yet you wanted to pay him John Beilein money?? WE WERE JUST COMING OFF OF AN NIT CHAMPIONSHIP AT THE TIME!

Garrison said Katz pitched the idea of the mean salary and WVU agreed after getting an idea of what to expect.
Probably an average salary. Although I’m sure he never has to pay for alcohol ever again.

“Coach Huggins went out and got the information himself,” Garrison said. “He called other coaches and put together a spreadsheet. The athletic department didn’t have it. He proved his case.”
I’m sure Coach Huggins had someone in the athletic department gather that information, or one of his smokeshow daughters.

Garrison believes he proved his, too.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Good one, Mike! You’re no longer sitting in your office at Stewart Hall playing XBox.

“Let’s assume that we stayed the course and we battled and got the status quo – and that was pretty much a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, whether anybody had a contract or not,” he said.
WTF!? “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell!?” Since when are gays in the military an issue with WVU athletics!? No wonder this guy couldn’t run the University efficiently.

“Had Bob Huggins gone into this past year with an expired contract or no contract, how much do you think it would cost to put that contract together now?”
A lot because of Hardesto’s incompetence, and you just maintaining the status quo. So, thanks for making Huggins sign that lifetime deal.

Garrison remained immersed in contracts and renegotiated deals with men’s soccer Coach Marlon LeBlanc and women’s soccer Coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, who was pursued by Michigan in late 2007. She decided to stay at WVU and eventually got a new practice field out of it.
Yep, Michigan was raiding WVU’s coaches. Hey assholes, there are other Universities that have coaches looking to go to a Big 10+2 school. Thanks for staying, Coach Izzo-Brown!

Neither of the new soccer contracts has a buyout. Garrison believes such clauses not only don’t prevent coaches from leaving, but also that schools frequently aren’t compelled to collect and rarely are successful if they try.
Hmm… well, I know WVU collected a cool $4 million from Product Rodriguez.

“Marlon didn’t want a buyout,” Garrison said. “He said, ‘I plan to be here.’ Well, what just happened? Penn State (was interested). His alma mater, of all places, and he didn’t go.”
Well, we’re glad you stayed, Marlon. CHECK OUT FANSIDED’S PENN STATE BLOG! /plug

Garrison isn’t after vindication and says matters like LeBlanc staying or Huggins justifying the contract are more important to the teams and the university than to Garrison.
No, he just wants to clean up his image so he can eventually run for statewide political office. I shudder to think how he’d run a part of state government, or worse, THE STATE! EVERYONE GETS HANDED FREE DRIVERS LICENSES!

Time, however, does help to alter the popular opinion.
He’s still a political hack. I’ve had that opinion for 3 years now. Nice try, Mike.

“I think if there was a perception that I was heavy-handed or a micromanager in the athletic department, it was because I was involved,” he said.
Maybe too involved to the point where you all MADE ED PASTILONG GO OUT TO LUNCH!?

“I was consistently approached by coaches and I think I was approachable. I think we also saw in our athletic enterprise that the teams were doing really well, so we wanted to make sure we kept the coaches here.
Yeah, you may have been approachable, but you were so against the idea of the free hugs girl out in front of the Mountainlair.

“Like everyone else in the Mountaineer family, I was shocked, I was floored when I heard Rich Rodriguez was going to Michigan. We wanted to make sure those things didn’t happen again and, frankly, I never felt like things moved quickly and I stand on that position.
It was your fault, asshole! But, at the same time, it was probably for the best.

“We believed, and I believe to this day, you’ve got to be responsive. You’ve got to be accommodating. You can’t give away the farm and I think it’s proven we didn’t. The folks we ask to go out and win and produce want responses, and they came to me for them.”
There you go with that Farm Talk again…

We won’t be doing a lot of this FJM-style business, but, given the events that happened during and after the Garrison tenure, this HAD to be done. For some strange reason, I hope he reads this.