Who would’ve thought the greatest wide receiver in NFL history would hail from West Virginia? Thanks to Randy Moss, the Mountain State can claim just that. He grew up in Rand and attended Belle DuPont, where he starred as a football and basketball player, with flashes of brilliance on the diamond and track as well. On the ESPN 30-for-30 “Rand University,” Moss talks about his mother’s strictness growing up and only allowing him to take three of his five possible recruiting trips. Never seeing anything outside of West Virginia, Moss opted for three out-of-state schools to visit: Florida, Notre Dame and Tennessee. Yada, yada, yada…he ended up at Marshall University. This was a smack in the face for Mountaineer fans, but they’d get their opportunity to see him.
Moss put up some incredible stats while playing for The Herd; 15 games with 100+ receiving yards, a 20.3 yards per catch average, a then-NCAA Division I record 26 touchdown receptions (28 as a freshman when Marshall was D II, totaling 56 for his career), 3,476 career receiving yards, and one big-time performance in Morgantown to open the inaguaral Division I season for Marshall in 1997. He caught only seven passes for 85 yards, but two of his grabs went for touchdowns. Moss also returned kicks, and had a 49-yard long that day. WVU won the game, but ultimately lost out on the best wide receiver from the state. Moss finished 4th in the Heisman voting in ’97 and caught an incredible 156 touchdowns in the NFL
Calls From Ann Arbor
After the 2006-2007 (regular) season, head football coach Rich Rodriguez bailed on his team and bolted for the Michigan job. He’d compiled a 60-26 record (.697 win percentage) at WVU and won two consecutive BCS-bowl games; WVU would win their 3rd and 4th consecutive without him. Michigan on the other hand was 64-20 before hiring Rich Rod and was headed in the wrong direction. This loss seemed devastating to WVU at the time, but Rodriguez only lasted three seasons and finished 15-22 (.401) at Michigan.
Another Mountaineer head coach would soon follow Rodriguez to Michigan: basketball coach John Beilein. He didn’t bail on his team like Rich Rod did, and capped his career in Morgantown with a NIT championship in 2007. Beilein leaving opened the door for Bob Huggins, so while it matched the pain of Rodriguez leaving, it opened us up for new kinds of heartache from a hometown guy.