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Dana Holgorsen calls out WVU fan attendance

Dana Holgorsen AP

At just about 11 pm for the past few nights, my Twitter feed has blown up with the same set of rumors.

“Source tells me Mike Slive is in Morgantown. WVU to SEC is a done deal.”

“Been told to expect an announcement about SEC membership tomorrow.”

And on and on it goes. As the great West Virginia sideline reporter Jed Drenning relayed, “Some moments are truly special. I’ll never forget where I was all 17 times West Virginia was officially-unofficially invited to the SEC.”

Indeed, the Mountaineer faithful have opined over the last several weeks that West Virginia would be a solid addition to the SEC as the league’s 14th member to the point of some truly believing everything they read. After all, did you not see College GameDay live from Morgantown? Did you not witness the 13,000 fans packing the Mountainlair plaza and the over 60,000 who crammed into Mountaineer Field sporting gold?

It was a big-time atmosphere. A cultural ying to the SEC’s yang. How could they say no?

But then, this past weekend, West Virginia laid an egg. A crowd of roughly 46,000 — 14,000 less than capacity — showed up to a cold, rainy and overall dreary afternoon to watch the Mountaineers lay 55 points on Bowling Green. Speaking with the media on Tuesday, coach Dana Holgorsen said that’s not acceptable.

“Whatever our expectations are with our players as far as preparing every week and going to the games and playing our best – I highly encourage our students and support to take the same approach. You only have seven opportunities a year.   What’s so hard about it? Was it too cold?  It wasn’t too cold for our players.  Wasn’t too cold for our coaches, managers or trainers.  They were out there.  So, why did we have 20,000 less people out there this week than last week?

“We’re all talking two weeks ago about how much difference the fans and crowds going to make to the LSU people. Well, LSU played well in front of 62,000 of our people and then turned around and went home and played a 1-4 Kentucky team at noon with 95,000 people there. You want to talk about an elite program?  That’s one.  I don’t know about this place.

“All I heard about was about how much this meant to everybody across the state of West Virginia and this was the NFL team here in town and we’re going to be there to support you. Having 40,000 people at a game isn’t doing that.  The only thing we can do about it is fix it.”

To be fair, it’s hard to get excited about playing Bowling Green and Norfolk State, the two home games that hosted crowds of 51,000 or less. It’s almost equally difficult to get amped for Big East conference play. There just aren’t any great teams or marquee games.

Asking people to come out in force for Cincinnati or UConn? Even AD Oliver Luck, a smart businessman, has to know that’s a stretch.

But Holgorsen was brought in for a reason: to re-energize Mountaineer Field after it was lulled to sleep over the past three years under Bill Stewart. So far, WVU’s offense has responded accordingly. Geno Smith is a top-five passer in college football and points are bountiful.

The WVU Mantrip, a new pre-game festivity created by Holgorsen, is an exciting way for fans to interact with their team before the game.

If West Virginia’s fans are as passionate and loyal as they claim to be, and if the quality of the product has been raised, then I agree with Holgorsen that there needs to be a reciprocating level from those in the stands. Holgorsen is candid, so it’s not really his M.O. to implore, but his sentiment is valid.

A consistent 60,000 in the stands won’t get WVU an invite to the SEC, but it will show they have the atmosphere to hang with it.

(Big thanks: WVMetroNews) 

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27 Responses to “Dana Holgorsen calls out WVU fan attendance”
  1. bender4700 says: Oct 4, 2011 4:26 PM

    His point would be dead on if anyone considered WV a top notch program. Nobody does.

    60k consistently won’t get them in the SEC. Consistently putting 80-90K and pulling larger TV ratings would.

    Good luck WV, call the ACC.

  2. whoisedgy says: Oct 4, 2011 4:36 PM

    Holgersen is exactly right. I’ve been a WVU fan for many years and we can be as fickle as any, but we must show up every week.

    Note to Ollie…schedule us some big time home games. The Big East schedule is the equivalent of the Big 10, SEC, Big 12 out-of-conference schedules. Give us someone from each of those conferences in place of BGSU, Norfolk, Liberty, Coastal Carolina, Ball State, Ohio, and Marshall.

  3. rowdyal says: Oct 4, 2011 5:04 PM

    Spam good.

  4. southernpatriots says: Oct 4, 2011 5:18 PM

    We like Coach Dana Holgersen. He is working hard to get WVU into the elite of college football. He is blessed with a great QB Geno Smith who will set many more records and help make Mountaineer football exciting for all fans. We agree with Coach Holgersen. Mountaineer fans must support the team even when the opponent is not LSU.

    For the past many months LSU football tickets have been sold out. For some dates, scalpers are charging many times their original cost. If tickets for next season were to go on sale, most would already be sold. Alabama is sold out, sold out, sold out, of all their home games for years. Florida has a huge crowd on hand for their Spring inter-squad game. So it goes with the elite in the SEC.

    We posted several weeks before the LSU game that SEC reps would be at the game and they were there. They were there a couple of days before the game and one day after the game. Additional SEC reps have traveled to Morgantown since the LSU game. My extended family and I (all but one LSU alums and that one a Georgia alum) have not been able to confirm if SEC reps were at the Bowling Green game or if SEC President Slive has made a trip to Morgantown.

    We would feel very remiss if we did not post the Morgantown Police’s appeal for witnesses in the violent assault against four LSU fans departing from the game. They were departing the purple lot and in stationary bumper-to-bumper traffic when a group (police say it could be been up to six white men) attacked Marcus and Hannah Mason and their friends. Doctors have told Marcus that he was “very lucky.” The Masons are at home in the Pittsburgh area healing and recuperating.

    Morgantown Police are appealing for any witnesses to to call 304-284-7454 or 304-284-7522

  5. paulbrownsrevenge says: Oct 4, 2011 5:21 PM

    The SEC better get someone quick. It seems the Big12 is going to stay put for now. The options are limited.

    I wonder if the B1G, and Pac12 are staying put to see how this shakes out with the SEC, what if the SEC knocks itself out of title games with a tougher, longer conference schedule?

  6. bender4700 says: Oct 4, 2011 5:28 PM

    Thumb it down all ya want but you’re just showing how little you know. What I said was right.

    WV is not a big factor in College Football History. They’re simply exist in it.

    The fact the incident that happened in WV is exactly why the SEC is not interested. Fans that don’t know how to handle big time games and a bunch of drunk idiots.

  7. ersatzgb says: Oct 4, 2011 5:58 PM

    Call the ACC? Yeah right. Like they would accept an institution with horrendous fans and horrendous academics. WVU and the SEC deserve each other.

  8. ersatzgb says: Oct 4, 2011 6:29 PM

    Down-vote all you want, rednecks. You’re better suited for the MEAC with that horrendous institution you call a university. Throw any trashcans at an opposing coach lately?

  9. rajuncajun28 says: Oct 4, 2011 7:21 PM

    WV has a population of 60,000 people? Are they all related???

  10. paulbrownsrevenge says: Oct 4, 2011 8:03 PM

    Holgorsen probably should have went for a better football school with a large population and fan base.

    It surprises me Oliver Luck is at WV as well.

  11. neovenator250 says: Oct 4, 2011 8:12 PM

    I don’t see any way that West Virginia ends up in the SEC. They just don’t bring anything as a program. The idea that they “carry” the Pittsburgh market is ridiculous. They don’t bring TV viewers, they don’t bring academic status, they don’t bring football tradition, they make less regional sense than a lot of other options. There’s a LONG list of schools I’d rather see in the SEC than West Virginia.

  12. wvucolumbus says: Oct 4, 2011 8:23 PM

    WVU is Pittsburgh’s college football team. Penn St is a bit too far away and the other lesser local teams have been irrelevant far too long…..With the style of play, agreements w/ ROOT sports, and massive alumni presence, we carry that market….yes.

  13. dg0122 says: Oct 4, 2011 8:54 PM

    yeah but how much beer do the 40K buy?

  14. dumbhillbillywiththe140iq says: Oct 4, 2011 8:57 PM

    Coach is right, we shoulda showed up. But the fanbase is upset about our weak scheduling. Not to mention Louisiana is hot as hell. Put them in the cold and if they get a full house for Kentucky. I love Louisianans by the way, so I won’t let a few asswipes on a message board screw that up. We are part of the Pittsburgh tv market. Don’t speak on stuff you don’t know. West Vorgians live up and down the coast and everywhere else, cause it is a poor state. But we’re as smart as anywhere else. Learn to be polite like the majority of your great southern neighbors.

  15. dumbhillbillywiththe140iq says: Oct 4, 2011 9:39 PM

    Sorry bout the grammar and spelling errors. That’s my girlfriend rushing me to get that post done cause we were at dinner and it’s “impolite” ;)

  16. billybib says: Oct 4, 2011 9:49 PM

    I see a Virginia Tech CHOkie fan stopped by to add his “opinion”. I guess he’s still smarting over that home loss to Clemson. Don’t worry. You’ll still get your precious ten wins this year and go strutting about thinking you accomplished something by beating up on the sorry teams that comprise the ACC. How’s that 2-11 BCS bowl record going? You guys going to fix that this year, or will it be another smack down for the ACC chumps, one like Stanford put on your CHOkies last year? And as for the LSU fans who were beaten….I wouldn’t rush to judgment without knowing the facts. It could have been some straight up hooligans who had nothing to do with Mountaineer football, or it could have been these LSU fans were running off at the mouth with the same old hillbilly trash talk that West Virginia hears from everyone else, including other hillbillies throughout SEC country.

  17. neovenator250 says: Oct 4, 2011 10:02 PM

    billybib

    Just pointing out that we have heard a lot of the facts surrounding the beating case. They weren’t running their mouths. Apparently the people were just driving the car and stopped when a rock cracked their windshield. When they stopped, they were pulled out of the vehicle. I’m not stereotyping WVU because of a couple of drunken idiots, thats just what I’ve seen reported

  18. mockylock says: Oct 4, 2011 10:19 PM

    Here’s the deal:

    Regardless of SEC, ACC or Big East, WVU’s ticket pricing has soared the past 5 years. Not only this, but season tickets include a “donation”, which should be called a “fee” considering it’s mandatory. The fee is in the hundreds of dollars.

    This year, they decided to sell tickets in packs of 3, or you couldn’t get a single when you purchased them. The pack included Louisville, Norfolk and LSU. So, if you usually go to 1-2 games a year, and you’re on a budget like quite a few WV fans are, (we ‘ain’ as reech as dem dayer SEC boys), then spending money on a Bowling Green game when it’s pissing down old testament rain in 40 degree weather for $80 a ticket because the scalpers bought them all… ….they can go screw themselves. They charge for parking at basketball now.. they raise the prices… change the sales packs… and now someone says something about the attendance.

    Change the price of the tickets and work with the fans some more.. maybe it’ll change. You took a crap on their chests in the past few years and a single game against a crappy team causes an uproar? Use that extra money and hire a real special teams coach. Maybe that’ll bring more people in.

  19. billybib says: Oct 4, 2011 10:19 PM

    No football tradition at WVU, huh? What a laugh. I guess those eight Southern confernce championships back in the day meant nothing to the fans. Playing for the national championship against Notre Dame—that was nothing as well. Oh, and there were those two BCS bowl victories that gave us the same total of BCS bowl victories as the ENTIRE ACC conference to date. Yeah, that’s not much of anything to consider either, is it? How funny that fans at Tennessee set cars on fire when Lane Kif. left in the middle of the night, but you didn’t hear about that in the media. But let’s make a thing of ANY incident that occurs at WVU. Why don’t you post the name of your institution there, bud. Let’s see where the NEO guy watches his college football, and then I’ll see what kind of negative publicity I can drum up. And if you think you’re campus is squeaky clean, then you’re full of crap. I just want to REPORT the facts.

  20. paulbrownsrevenge says: Oct 4, 2011 11:04 PM

    Clearly pittsburgh doesn’t support Pitt U, did you see Heinz field for the Notre Dame game? I was stunned at how half the stadium was empty, and half of that crowd was probably Irish fans.

    I think if Pitt would pony up the money for a decent stadium of their own, they might attract move in state recruits. There’s a ton of talent in that area of western PA, but it all leaves for the B1G.

  21. alligatorsnapper says: Oct 4, 2011 11:31 PM

    mockylock:

    You raise some relevant points. We think it would be proper for those who make those decisions affecting the ability of fans of the Mountaineers to be at the games to understand the concerns. It would probably be the Athletic Director Oliver Luck. If not, his office personnel should be able to direct you to where you and all Mountaineer fans can voice their concerns and frustrations. These ticket packages are pitiful. We have seen this also. If the school schedules good opponents a package doesn’t matter to a fan. It is when the school schedules cupcakes or glorified high school teams and packages those games with one game that is with a quality opponent, that good fans get frustrated, and justifiably so.

    Some years ago Tiger alums and fans wrote the administration at LSU about some package deals and other restrictions to buy tickets that concerned us. Enough fans wrote and called that the rules were rescinded and though there have been some price increases along the way, it is far less than it would have been.

  22. tomthebombtracy says: Oct 5, 2011 8:15 AM

    Some tips for Oiver Luck to improve attendance:

    1. Since couch burning on campus is now a felony, have halftime shows with dueling couch burning fraternity units placed on the corners of the field.

    2. Add moonshine to the new beer stands.

    3. Do home invasions during games with Sam Huff to get people out of their man caves.

    4. Have John Denver lookalike contests at TV timeouts.

  23. latrobe21 says: Oct 5, 2011 8:31 AM

    WVU did its best to pretend to be something it’s not in trying to impress the SEC during the LSU weekend. I posted when the FIRST of the seventeen announcements about WVU possibly to the SEC came out that WVU had nothing to offer the SEC. I went to enough games in Morgantown when PSU played them yearly to know its a low-rent place with low-rent fans.

  24. mockylock says: Oct 6, 2011 5:05 PM

    @DG0122:

    Fans bought 21,811 bottles of beer, 18,803 bottles of water, 2,906 bottles of soda and 8,908 cups of frozen lemonade from vendors on the first game. That was against Marshall. I’m guessing it went up from there.

    They netted over $75k just in beer alone on the first game.

    So if there were 62,000 fans, (not 40k) you’re looking at over a 3rd bought a beer.

    As for Latrobe21.. You’re typical PSU arrogance at its best. I’m glad your team is doing so outstanding, you deserve it. WVU hasn’t played them in years, and quite a bit has changed since then. Actually, everything’s changed except for Jo-Pa and the fact that it’s a dickface breeding ground. And Latrobe? Pittsburgh? I love Pittsburgh, but a low-rent comment is funny coming from one of the dirtiest places in the US.

  25. mr304 says: Oct 6, 2011 7:02 PM

    The Beer prices make up for the fans that didnt show

  26. mr304 says: Oct 6, 2011 11:17 PM

    @bender4700

    I guarantee the 65,000 fans in WVU’s Milan Puskar Stadium are louder and ,without a doubt, crazier than 80,000 in any SEC stadium. And the seating capacity continues to grow each year. WVU isnt an elite football program so what is Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi St. and Vandy??? Elite??? Yeah right. WVU would kill each of these teams and in basketball we would kill the whole conference. So before you look at football think about the other sports in these programs

  27. mr304 says: Oct 6, 2011 11:24 PM

    WELCOME TO TIGER STADIUM!!!!!! http://starcasm.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Picture-32-490×310.png?ggnoads

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