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Waiting for the Fall: A Decade of Dreams, Drama and West Virginia University Football

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For the people of West Virginia-a state that is often ridiculed and disregarded-their flagship university's Mountaineer football team is a source of pride, a shining representative for their state on the national stage. So when native son and head coach Rich Rodriguez led the Mountaineers to an unexpected Sugar Bowl victory at the end of the 2005 season, behind a youthful For the people of West Virginia-a state that is often ridiculed and disregarded-their flagship university's Mountaineer football team is a source of pride, a shining representative for their state on the national stage. So when native son and head coach Rich Rodriguez led the Mountaineers to an unexpected Sugar Bowl victory at the end of the 2005 season, behind a youthful roster that included electrifying freshmen Patrick White and Steve Slaton, West Virginia fans figured the best was yet to come. Instead, the seasons that followed served up endless, stomach-churning drama, pivoting around one of the most earth-shattering upsets in college football history-to be known forever by its final score, 13-9. Successes came the Mountaineers' way, including three Bowl Championship Series victories in seven years. But so did turbulent coaching changes that splintered the fan base, looming uncertainty caused by ongoing conference realignment, power struggles that forced some into highly embarrassing acts, and enough backstabbing and subterfuge to fill a Shakespearian tragedy. The Mountaineers emerged from the turmoil to face a bright future in a new conference, but will the old demons still haunt them? As a sportswriter for the Charleston Daily Mail, Mike Casazza has covered the Mountaineers for more than a decade; he's lived WVU football from Nehlen to Rodriguez to Stewart to Holgorsen. In Waiting for the Fall, Casazza has written the definitive document of this unprecedented period for West Virginia University football. You'll also read an insightful foreword from ESPN play-by-play announcer and native West Virginian Mike Patrick, who broadcast that infamous loss to Pittsburgh. Waiting for the Fall is an epic tale that captures the events and emotions that defined an era for West Virginians who experienced it firsthand. It's also a must-read for football fans who watched with interest as the sport's most successful team without a national title became a soap opera disguised as a major college football program. And if you're a sports fan who simply loves a great story told well, Waiting for the Fall is just the sort of page-turner you'll love.


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For the people of West Virginia-a state that is often ridiculed and disregarded-their flagship university's Mountaineer football team is a source of pride, a shining representative for their state on the national stage. So when native son and head coach Rich Rodriguez led the Mountaineers to an unexpected Sugar Bowl victory at the end of the 2005 season, behind a youthful For the people of West Virginia-a state that is often ridiculed and disregarded-their flagship university's Mountaineer football team is a source of pride, a shining representative for their state on the national stage. So when native son and head coach Rich Rodriguez led the Mountaineers to an unexpected Sugar Bowl victory at the end of the 2005 season, behind a youthful roster that included electrifying freshmen Patrick White and Steve Slaton, West Virginia fans figured the best was yet to come. Instead, the seasons that followed served up endless, stomach-churning drama, pivoting around one of the most earth-shattering upsets in college football history-to be known forever by its final score, 13-9. Successes came the Mountaineers' way, including three Bowl Championship Series victories in seven years. But so did turbulent coaching changes that splintered the fan base, looming uncertainty caused by ongoing conference realignment, power struggles that forced some into highly embarrassing acts, and enough backstabbing and subterfuge to fill a Shakespearian tragedy. The Mountaineers emerged from the turmoil to face a bright future in a new conference, but will the old demons still haunt them? As a sportswriter for the Charleston Daily Mail, Mike Casazza has covered the Mountaineers for more than a decade; he's lived WVU football from Nehlen to Rodriguez to Stewart to Holgorsen. In Waiting for the Fall, Casazza has written the definitive document of this unprecedented period for West Virginia University football. You'll also read an insightful foreword from ESPN play-by-play announcer and native West Virginian Mike Patrick, who broadcast that infamous loss to Pittsburgh. Waiting for the Fall is an epic tale that captures the events and emotions that defined an era for West Virginians who experienced it firsthand. It's also a must-read for football fans who watched with interest as the sport's most successful team without a national title became a soap opera disguised as a major college football program. And if you're a sports fan who simply loves a great story told well, Waiting for the Fall is just the sort of page-turner you'll love.

30 review for Waiting for the Fall: A Decade of Dreams, Drama and West Virginia University Football

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erinn

    A must read by a brilliant beat writer covering West Virginia University's ever-interesting football program. A must read by a brilliant beat writer covering West Virginia University's ever-interesting football program.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Eric Parsons

    Mike Casazza's look at a very unique time of the West Virginia football program is a must if you follow the team, or if you are a fan of football in general. Conference bickering (that is, calling the Big East "weak" (true) and dismissing it as such is quite short-sighted) aside, it is difficult to argue just how good the teams from 2005 to 2007 were and also hard to describe the bickering and angst that followed in the years immediately following. While the author spends some time on the foundi Mike Casazza's look at a very unique time of the West Virginia football program is a must if you follow the team, or if you are a fan of football in general. Conference bickering (that is, calling the Big East "weak" (true) and dismissing it as such is quite short-sighted) aside, it is difficult to argue just how good the teams from 2005 to 2007 were and also hard to describe the bickering and angst that followed in the years immediately following. While the author spends some time on the founding of the football team and the weird scheduled games against the Youngstown Motorcycle club and the like, the majority of the focus is on the ending of the Don Nehlen era, the entire Rich Rodriguez tenure--with a solid focus on those 3 dominant years--the whole Bill Stewart fiasco...er, saga, and the first year under Dana Holgorsen. As a devoted Mountaineer fan, I remember these days well--and relived the bliss, anger, frustration, and more all over again. What was particularly interesting, honestly, was the Bill Stewart...well, mess. While fans have long accused then WVU president Clement making a "drunken hire" after a stunning Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma, Casazza gives plenty of details that were never made public. While some certainly had imbibed, apparently the hire was set in motion during the game and Clement was sort of strong-armed into making the hire. While Stewart went 27-12 during his tenure, it was clear--to anybody watching--that the WVU express had derailed. While WVU under Rodriguez had a relentless offense, one that seemed to score 1,000 points per game and do so quickly, this one began to sputter. The embarrassment of the loss to ECU, 24-3, was recounted. The poor clock management of the following week of Colorado as well. Casazza recounts a Stewart that became more and more combative with the media that was puzzling to those on the outside. The 2010 season is given good attention. By then, the fanbase--which had expected a more dynamic offense like the Fiesta Bowl win--had turned. Having attended the final game of the season and seeing a stunning amount of empty seats, apathy was setting in. A move had to be made...except, Casazza reveals, that it had already been made. The way Stewart handled his staff was abhorrent, to be honest. Then the final straw of his asking a reporter to dig up dirt on new coach Holgorsen is detailed and Stewart's swift exit is discussed. The author does a terrific job of bringing back many memories for me, personally...from the exhilarating defeat of Georgia in the 2006 Sugar Bowl (which still felt like a blowout, given the 28-0 lead after 16 minutes, though the Eers only won 38-35), to the boos cascading down on the team that only had a 10-0 lead on Coastal Carolina at halftime in 2010, to the same happening the following season when WVU was losing to Norfolk State at halftime, 12-10, to the curbstomping of Clemson in the Orange Bowl following the 2011 season (70-33...still hardly seems real)...it was a delight. Highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Robinson

    Mike Casazza is a long time West Virginia Mountaineer football fan and a writer of that program. So this book was a passion project for him. And you could easily tell that Casazza eats, sleeps, and breathes Mountaineer football just by the way this book was written. Within Waiting for the Fall, Casazza mixed in good journalism as well as his personal feelings about Mountaineer football in the early 21st century. Reading this book just brought back memories of the years I use to be a loyal follower Mike Casazza is a long time West Virginia Mountaineer football fan and a writer of that program. So this book was a passion project for him. And you could easily tell that Casazza eats, sleeps, and breathes Mountaineer football just by the way this book was written. Within Waiting for the Fall, Casazza mixed in good journalism as well as his personal feelings about Mountaineer football in the early 21st century. Reading this book just brought back memories of the years I use to be a loyal follower of the Helix High School football team, the San Diego State football program, and the San Diego Chargers franchise from 1993 to 2004. This is one of those type of books where if you're not a Mountaineer football fan, were not a follower of the old Big East football conference, or you're a casual football fan then you will have hard time finishing this book. Me personally, I followed the defunct Big East conference and Mountaineer football as a kid and adult way over in Southern California, so I knew what time it was when I received this book from Amazon. Want an education on Mountaineer football in the 21st Century? Well, Waiting for the Fall is a good place to start.

  4. 4 out of 5

    jslonaker1980

    Great read This is a good book for wvu fans to read. It was fun for me to look back on some of these games that I attended as a season ticket holder

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brent

    Casazza nicely summarized the turbulent past decade around the Mountaineer football program. He writes with the authority of someone who closely witnessed many of the events chronicled, and his narrative is accentuated by quotes from those who were involved in the drama. It has the feel of an insider's story, but as told by someone with no ax to grind. WVU fans will likely find reading this book much like a breeze down memory lane – largely pleasant, with the disastrous game against Pitt in 2007 Casazza nicely summarized the turbulent past decade around the Mountaineer football program. He writes with the authority of someone who closely witnessed many of the events chronicled, and his narrative is accentuated by quotes from those who were involved in the drama. It has the feel of an insider's story, but as told by someone with no ax to grind. WVU fans will likely find reading this book much like a breeze down memory lane – largely pleasant, with the disastrous game against Pitt in 2007 being one prominent exception. Fans of other college teams, and those who are just curious about the collegiate sports world in general, may also find this book provides an enjoyable look at some of the drama that unfolds behind-the-scenes in that environment.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Greg Bolt

    This book is an accurate depiction and a window into the mind of Mountaineer fans and Appalachian fatalism. The writing is good, a little tangent-y (is that a word?) at times, but overall was a great walk down memory lane. I was filled with memories about where I was when all of the events of this wild story were unfolding. If you are a mountaineer fan, a fan of college football, or want to know how my brain works (especially regarding Mountaineer athletics) you need to read this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    This was a very good book on the overall story of the last decade or so of Mountaineer football. Mike Casazza has here an excellent chronicle of the events that shaped the program that is West Virginia University football. I recommend this for any WVU football fan and also for those just interested in college football in general.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex Cork

    Any true Mountaineer will understand the ups and downs which are discussed within the covers of this book. This is piece of literature that all true supporters of the old gold and blue must read in order to understand the challenges their program faces.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Duvall

    A must-read if you're a big WVU football fan, and an interesting story even if you're not. A must-read if you're a big WVU football fan, and an interesting story even if you're not.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris Vannoy

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kenny Marks

  14. 5 out of 5

    Richard Meadows

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

  16. 5 out of 5

    Steve Jones

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tessa

  18. 5 out of 5

    Duane

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dana Watts

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth S Clark

  21. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

  22. 4 out of 5

    Von Barclay

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kent Saxton

  24. 4 out of 5

    Patrick McFadden

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Ellison

  26. 4 out of 5

    David Barnett

  27. 5 out of 5

    Adam Jarvis

  28. 4 out of 5

    MBS

  29. 4 out of 5

    Josh Woodyard

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

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