Rodriguez Denies Report

West Virginia University head football coach Rich Rodriguez emphatically denied that he was on the verge of accepting the head coaching job at the University of Alabama.

"I plan on being at West Virginia the rest of my career," said Rodriguez, who called into Friday night's "MetroNews Statewide Sport." Earlier on Friday, had posted a story that said several sources close to the West Virginia athletic department had indicated that Rodriguez had said he was ready to accept the Alabama job, if offered. That story was the topic of discussion during the show's first segment, and Rodriguez called in shortly thereafter, vigorously denying the truth of the story.

"I don't know what was said (on the show)," stated Rodriguez. "I was over here with my team at Lakeview for dinner, like we always have the night before a game, and my wife, Rita, calls me in tears saying, ‘You're not going to believe what is being said (on the Sportsline).' I asked her what was said, and she said, ‘They are reporting that you've already accepted the job at Alabama, you've already told your coaches, that you are telling your team tonight.'"

(Editor's note – The story actually did not say that Rodriguez had already accepted the Alabama job, but in fact that he had told sources that he would accept if offered. The story did cite sources saying that some assistant coaches had been notified, but it did not contain any statement about Rich addressing his team. Semantics aside, Rodriguez denied the main contention of the story – that he was prepared to accept the Alabama job.)

"I said, ‘What are you talking about,'" Rodriguez continued. "She said, ‘Yeah, they are citing athletic department sources.' I have no idea what anybody is talking about. I have not talked to anybody, they haven't offered me anything, I didn't even say I was interested. When all of these rumors came up, all I said was I don't address rumors. It's as simple as that. I plan on being at West Virginia the rest of my career, and I've got to hear this stuff, and I've got to have recruits hear this. I've got recruits here, and they've got to hear this stuff. It's ridiculous. I don't know what kind of journalism you have or what kind of sources you're going through. I usually wouldn't even respond, but when my wife calls me and I have recruits asking me, I'm thinking this has got to be nuts. We're focusing on Rutgers. Everything this week has been focused on Rutgers. We've had a great week of practice, we're going to honor our seniors tonight (with a dinner at Lakeview) and try to send them out the right way and have a great game tomorrow night. It's as simple as that.

"I plan on being at West Virginia the rest of my career, so I don't know whose sources you are quoting. Who is even making this stuff up? Where is this coming from? How can they say that?" asked Rodriguez. "I have not even talked to anybody in the athletic department this week. There is no truth to that whatsoever. The only people I've talked to have been my coaches, and the only thing we've talked about is our normal game week plan – about offense, defense, special teams, what Rutgers is going to do and recruiting. That's it. Those are the only people I've talked to, so I don't know where this is coming from. I did talk to Ed Pastilong (WVU's director of athletics) on Monday. He called me about bowl scenarios and a situation in the Big East regarding non-qualifiers. He asked me if anybody (other schools) had call, and I said no. That's it, so that's what I'm talking about; this is not responsible journalism. It's crazy.

"I know we have a lot of fans who listen to the talk show, and to be honest with you, I don't want to address rumors, because all that does is feed it," added Rodriguez. "But again, it's very upsetting to me, the night before a game, to have my family and recruits and players to wonder what's going on, when all week I've told them that nothing was going on. I don't know why people would throw that out there. I don't know why people would intentionally try to hurt myself or my program by this stuff. It's not going to affect anything tonight or tomorrow, because our focus, I promise you, has been on Rutgers. We've had a great week (of practice), and we're going to have a great night tonight to honor our seniors. If these are athletic department sources, they should be taken to task. If it's somebody involved with us, that is supposedly a source and making that up, then they should be taken to task. That's what I'm saying."

Rodriguez was asked a final question by one of the show's cohosts, Greg Hunter, who was the author of the original story about the WVU coach's potential departure. "I want to pinpoint this down one time, if offered the Alabama job, would you accept?"

"Right now, I'm not even going to address that, Greg," stated Rodriguez. "I'm going to repeat myself as clear as I can – I'm planning on being the coach at West Virginia for the rest of my career, if they'll have me. That's what I'm planning on doing. I don't plan on calling and talking to anybody this week, I don't plan on talking to anybody next week. I don't plan on doing anything but what I can for West Virginia football. That's the end of the story. That's it."

BlueGoldNews Top Stories