“Ooh-oo child, Things are gonna get easier. Ooh-oo child, Things'll get brighter.” That's the chorus to the Five Stairsteps classic song ( yes, it's a dumb name for a group). I listen to this and I think " yes, yes it will be better". After a long Fall and Winter of frustrating and tough Mountaineer sports, it's the hope I cling to. The football team started out looking so promising going 5-0 beating Tennessee and thoroughly handling pesky Kansas St 35-6. That's when the wheels came off.. losing the next 4 of 7 games starting with the Iowa St game and finishing with a Camping World Bowl loss to Syracuse to finish at 8-4. That's when the great exodus happened. Pretty much the entire coaching staff headed to Houston.
Out the Frying pan and into the fire so to speak, that's where the basketball season took us. Opening with a loss to mid major Buffalo and finishing with a loss in the "exclusive" CBI to Carolina ( um Coastal Carolina). We finished with our highest loss total in Mountaineer history, 21. The great Exodus in basketball was different. It happened slowly throughout the year after Sags went down from injury. First we had Esa and Wes Harris dismissed. Then Beetle decided to head to what he feels are greener pastures for him. Followed by Gordon, Dooms and Lamont West putting their names in the hottest of clubs, the transfer portal.
The song "O-O-H Child" written by Soul songwriter/producer Stan Vincent was to bring comfort and hope to anyone listening. For Mountaineer nation it should resonate because despite the long Fall and Winter Months things are already looking better. It didn't take “five stairsteps”, AD Lyons sprung to action immediately. Hitting what seems to be a homerun in the hiring of coach Neal Brown. The "pipe it up" mentality has brought SO much excitement and hope to a “New Era.” His coaching staff seems eager and has rejuvenated the entire state and program. In basketball the flair and fight showed by the team during the Big XII tournament also brings hope. We were able to knock off NOW final 4 team Texas Tech in convincing fashion. It shows that we can do it. We also have five star blue chipper and Mcdonald's All-American, Oscar Tshiebw, coming to campus. He's not just hype.If you watch his tape, hes the truth. We have real hope that one of the best defenders in the nation, Sagaba Konate, will return for another year to the Old Gold & Blue.
Yes, this year has been tough, but we have more than enough reason to keep our heads up. Look off into the horizon and there we will see hope. It's coming and Gordon Gee, Shane Lyons, Neal Brown and coach Huggins ensure that in fact "Ooh-oo child, Things'll get brighter".