The way things ended for Catlett was far from perfect. And therein lies the tragedy.
His 30 year record was 565-320. He led WVU to seven Atlantic 10 regular season or tournament championships. As a player, he was a defensive standout for George King's Mountaineers. The man bled Blue and Gold, and still does to this day. But for some people, that isn't good enough.
Let me go on the record as saying that the 2001-2002 season left a bitter taste in my mouth. So much hype, and so much promise resulted in just eight victories. It also resulted in the abrupt end of Catlett's coaching career.
When you take a step back and look at the bigger picture though, Catlett's contributions to Mountaineer basketball are arguably unparalleled. On May 9, Catlett will rightfully be enshrined in the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
Congratulations Coach. You earned it.
And now for something completely different. The conclusion of last Saturday's Gold/Blue game meant the beginning of the dreaded "lull" period that exists for many Mountaineer fans the end of basketball season/spring football drills, and the beginning of August football camp.
I know that many of you are already counting the days (but no notetaking please) between now and the September 2 kickoff against Marshall. The next 133 days (just a figure off the top of my head) will go quicker than you think. For me, the lull doesn't even exist as I'm a diehard Boston Red Sox fan and simply jump from one season to the next.
For those of you who unfortunately don't like baseball, here are a couple of dates to look forward to that will hopefully make the lull move quicker.
April 29/30- The NFL Draft will take place these days as a handful of former Mountaineers will be hoping to get a phone call from NFL teams. It's unlikely that anyone will be drafted on Saturday, but as many as four Mountaineers (Jahmile Addae, Ernest Hunter, Mike Lorello, and Dee McCann) could hear their names called on Sunday. If not, look for that quartet as well as many of their former teammates to be signed by teams as undrafted free agents.
June 28- NBA Draft. I know what you're saying. "I don't pay attention to the NBA." You also might be saying "There's no way Pittsnogle or Gansey get drafted."
I can't blame you for the first statement. The NBA's decline since Michael Jordan retired has been well-documented. On the second statement though, be prepared for the opposite. Both Kevin and Mike have excellent shots at hearing their names called on June 28. Don't be surprised to see either one, or both, of these fine players drafted. If/When that happens, it'll give Mountaineer fans reasons to watch the NBA again.
Sometime in July- They haven't announced a date yet, but every year it's Christmas in July for legions of college football fans as EA Sports releases their annual NCAA Football video game.
This day, along with Sunday at the Masters and Opening Day at Fenway, is one of my favorite days of the year. For a solid month, no other game will be placed in my PlayStation2. This year's game is sure to have some new nifty features, and EA Sports' recent partnership with ESPN will only make this wonderful creation that much more exciting.