Both football and basketball are thriving at WVU … in the classroom. Bob Huggins, who is usually loathe to discuss graduation rates, is actually open to talking about how anyone who’s completed their eligibility while he’s been with the Mountaineers has earned a diploma.
“It’s a commitment by the university and the athletic department to supply the resources to help the players succeed academically,” said Huggins, declining to take credit in graduates under his watch. “There’s a real commitment there, and the guys work at it.”
Bill Stewart is far more willing to discuss academics. For one, it means as much to him as anything else. And he’s got good reason to feel so strongly. When seven seniors graduate this weekend, that’ll make a perfect 23-for-23 from the class.
Not included is kicker Josh Lider, who did his thing in a year at WVU with a rather unique approach he learned long ago.
He also needed a push to change his approach, for school was still school. While at Western Washington, however, he came across a professor that took care of that. At a small Division II school, things get tough some times. You spend a lot of time on buses, a lot of time away from class.
This particular professor gave extremely tough tests and Lider was finding it hard to combine sports with academics until the professor pulled him aside.
“Look,” he said. “You like sports. Well, my tests are a competition. It’s you against me. Beat me.”
All of a sudden, Lider wasn’t looking as much at the tests as an academic challenge, but as a competition as intense as any he had on the field.
“OK,” he thought, “if it’s a hard test, I’m going to beat you.”