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WV Athletic Director: Banning ‘Unfortunate’

February 5, 1996

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) _ A sports editor banned from a West Virginia basketball new conference will not be kept from attending the team’s future media opportunities, the university’s athletic director said Monday.

West Virginia (8-11, 3-8 Big East) lost 84-63 on Saturday to Boston College, its worst home defeat since a 102-80 setback to Westminster in 1954-55.

Coach Gale Catlett refused to attend the postgame news conference if Bob Pastin, sports editor of the Dominion Post of Morgantown, was present. Pastin agreed to leave, and the news conference took place.

It was the Mountaineers’ first home game since Pastin wrote a column Jan. 27 that questioned the direction of the West Virginia basketball program.

``We have had discussions here within the athletic department and it was unfortunate,″ athletic director Ed Pastilong said. ``Coach was upset over a recent article and felt it wasn’t good timing for he and Bob Pastin to meet that particular day.

``But in future press meetings Bob is more than welcome,″ Pastilong said. ``We’re hoping that he’ll rejoin us.″

Pastilong declined to say whether he believed Catlett was correct.

``I’d just rather not comment as to who was right or wrong,″ Pastilong said.

There is no guarantee another reporter won’t be banned.

``We’ll handle each situation according to that particular incident,″ Pastilong said.

``Bob was doing his job, just like the coach was,″ Dominion Post editor Ralph Brem said. ``The coach should have the same respect for (Pastin) doing his job as he does the coach.″

Catlett did not immediately return a message left with his secretary. Monday was Pastin’s day off and he did not immediately return a message left at his home.

In his column, Pastin pointed out the Mountaineers’ record has been below .500 since the halfway point of the 1993-94 season. Also, attendance has not been what it should be in West Virginia’s first season in the Big East, Pastin wrote.

The Mountaineers show no signs of reaching Big East prominence any time soon, he wrote.

``Do you attempt to fix the problem by firing Catlett or asking him to step down? Maybe so, if no progress is made the rest of the season, because that would represent a lousy 1995-96 on top of a lousy 1994-95 and the lousy second half of 1993-94,″ Pastin wrote.

``Pastilong and (West Virginia president David) Hardesty definitely need to begin weighing their options, if they haven’t already done so,″ he wrote.

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