Within days of suspending fall enrollment, Mountain State began a process that may only be described as closing shop.
In a moment of candor, Mountain State president Richard Sours told remaining students that they should work on their own behalf to do the best they can to move their education forward. Students of the beleaguered university took Sours’ words to heart and began flooding the neighboring University of Charleston with transfer applications.
As Mountain State’s students attempt to transfer to other schools without losing their scholarships or experiencing interruptions in financial aid payments, the university’s faculty and staff face grim prospects. The university has decided to lay off 50% of its workforce, 146 people.
The reductions were spread across the faculty, staff, and administrative levels and were focused primarily on the university’s main campus in Beckley, W. Va. where 132 employees were told that their time at the university would be ending on Sept. 21.
Outside of Beckley, the cuts were concentrated in Martinsburg, W. Va., where nine employees lost their jobs. The remaining layoffs were spread fairly evenly across the rest of Mountain State’s satellite campuses: two employees were let go in North Carolina; two were laid off in Florida; and one was downsized in Pennsylvania.
Among the first to go was Mountain State men’s basketball coach and athletic director Bob Bolen. The removal of Bolen effectively ends athletics at Mountain State. Bolen, who took over the program in 1993, had a 308-42 record for the last 10 seasons and was considered one of the best non-Division I coaches in the country.
Prior to the problems with the school’s general accreditation being revealed, and the explosion of lawsuits that followed, the Mountain State Cougars were considered a strong contender for the NAIA national championship.
Follow Alex Wukman on Twitter @AlexWukmanCMN