Nehlen's son-in-law, former NFL quarterback Jeff Hostetler, said Nehlen underwent surgery Tuesday following routine testing and that his recovery was going well.Nehlen always has been and always will be a very important figure to me. Besides being the coach at my school, he also spent a great deal of time recruiting kids from my high school not named John Radcliff. He was also the guest speaker at our football banquet my senior year. Nehlen was and is a kind man that is as real talking to you one on one as he is being interviewed in front of a national audience. Sadly, he's what we consider a throw back these days.
As much as any coach from the early years of the Big East conference, Don Nehlen was an influential force in it's formation. He lobbied hard for the inclusion of a Virginia Tech program that didn't have a winning season in Frank Beamer's first six seasons. Unlike most, he could see that it was a program just waiting to explode if it could get into a major conference. Beamer and company didn't disappoint. Often at Nehlen's expense.
He had the same kind of vision about West Virginia. Before coming to Morgantown, Nehlen was an assistant under Bo Schembechler at Michigan. And although Schembechler thought a lot of Nehlen, he was less that willing to encourage his assistant to take the Mountaineer job.
At some point in all our lives, someone tells us not to do something because it won't end up the way we want it to. And of course we do it anyway just to prove them wrong. And West Virginia isn't such a bad place to be anymore because of it.I never intended this piece to sound like a eulogy, and I hope it doesn't come across that way. But the man did incredible things building up the West Virginia program, and I can't not salute his accomplishments when I speak about him. He built the foundation that Rich Rodriguez was able to take to a national level. But no matter where the Mountaineers go from here, it's all because of Don Nehlen and his vision. Get well soon coach!