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Grant Town removes signs proclaiming it WVU coach’s hometown

Dec. 18, 2007 @ 11:32 AM

GRANT TOWN, W.Va. (AP) — It’s nothing personal, coach. But the signs proclaiming this Marion County community as the hometown of soon-to-be-former West Virginia University football coach Rich Rodriguez have come down.

Less than 24 hours after Rodriguez announced he was leaving WVU to take a job as Michigan’s new football coach, Mayor Robert Riggs ordered two signs taken down that proclaim Grant Town as the “Home of WVU Head Football Coach Rich Rodriguez.”

Riggs said Tuesday he wasn’t doing it out of anger, but to pre-empt vandalism or theft by outraged Mountaineers fans.

Last year, when Rodriguez was considering an offer from the University of Alabama, someone wrapped a chain around one of the signs, pulled it out of the ground with a vehicle and stole it.

Once Rodriguez signed a new contract with WVU, the sign was left across the street from town hall with a note attached: “Since the coach is staying, here’s your sign back.”

Now that the coach is definitely leaving, Riggs said it was just a matter of time before someone went after the signs.

So they are in storage, and Riggs said he plans to return them to the resident who originally paid to have them installed.

Reaction to Rodriguez’s departure has been intensely bitter among some Mountaineers fans.

Gov. Joe Manchin, a fellow Marion County native, said the coach is a “victim” of high-priced sports agents, while Sears Monument in Charleston put the words “Coach Rodriguez” on one of the headstones displayed in a shop window.