With Memphis, Houston, Southern Methodist and Central Florida on the way out, I've got to say it: I'll miss Tigers coach Josh Pastner.
That he was one of the better interviews in the league goes without saying. But I was impressed how he handled the Tigers' one and only butt-whipping by Marshall, back in 2011 at Cam Henderson Center.
It may have been the most informal chat by a visiting coach I've seen. Pastner arrived in royal blue sweats, sat on the table instead of behind it, smiled and admitted that his team had been flogged. You detected the tinge of frustration, but he knew he could do nothing but move on - which his team did, to another C-USA tournament title.
I'll miss the Tigers' home building, FedEx Forum, I'll miss the Rendevous rib joint, the Blues City Café and other notable landmarks in Memphis. I won't miss a cold, empty Thursday night at the Liberty Bowl.
With Houston, I'll miss watching incredibly athletic football and basketball teams, though the latter always underachieved. I won't miss Robertson Stadium and neither will Cougar fans - that dungeon has been torn down to make way for a 40,000-seat replacement.
With Southern Methodist, I'll miss a quaint campus with that tinge of excess. In the Herd's last trip there, the school was hosting a George W. Bush presidential exhibit about 500 feet from the press box. I won't miss the Herd's head coach melting down after a loss (both Mark Snyder and Doc Holliday peeled the paint there).
With Central Florida, I'll miss George O'Leary. Best described as "prickly" by a local scribe, I have nonetheless found him polite and candid. In some strange way, I'll miss Bright House Networks Stadium, the bounciest athletic venue on Earth.
I won't miss Orlando, the most overrated, tollbooth-infested, tourist-trap city in Florida. Its best feature is I-4 to Daytona Beach or Tampa.
As Marshall begins spring football practice eight days from now, it will be interesting to see how Doc Holliday's retooled coaching staff comes together.
Perhaps the top concern is the loss of JuJuan Seider, who is probably WVU coach Dana Holgorsen's best addition to that staff. I'm certain he was the Herd staff's biggest loss, both as recruiting coordinator and running backs coach.
Seider was classy, always upbeat, and his roots in Florida seemed to grow deeper by the year. As a position coach, he typically had the No. 4 running back as prepared as the No. 1 - and had to prove it a few times. I mean, who developed Essray Taliaferro into a legit ground gainer when called upon?
Good news for Herd fans, though: I see a lot of Seider's traits in Todd Hartley, who took over the coordinator role (not that it will be formally announced until April or May). Hartley's name was all over MU's recruiting release in February.
Not sure if Hartley will direct traffic as efficiently as did Seider, but he will bring the same energy. And he may have his biggest recruiting year yet in the state of Georgia.
I just want to see Hartley coach tight ends. I know he is capable of making the move from safeties coach, but he'll give up 100-plus pounds to all his protégés.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.