MORGANTOWN - It is a far too frequent and rather tragic fact of life that often times bad things happen to good people.
It is similarly common and appalling that just the opposite is true - that good things happen to bad people.
On which side of that somewhat broad line falls one Erik Slaughter I have no earthly idea, although I would be inclined to hope and perhaps even suspect it is the former.
There apparently is at least one person in Texas who I am certain leans the other way.
Thus we arrive at the topic of Slaughter and his recent addition to West Virginia's defensive coaching staff. The man has a history - or at least one seemingly isolated incident in that history - that bodes ill for anyone placed in the position of influencing young men.
It does not seem, however, to be what it might appear on the surface.
Four years ago, while teaching and coaching at a high school in Texas, Slaughter was placed on administrative leave while being investigated for an inappropriate relationship with a female high school student. The end result, to make a long story short (although we will try to provide some of the longer version here), was that he resigned his teaching and coaching positions, eventually surrendered his teaching credentials and moved on to the college ranks.
It is, as far as we know, the only blemish on Slaughter's 20-year professional resume, although it is certainly a significant one. It is the elephant in the room regarding his hiring by WVU's Dana Holgorsen and Oliver Luck, one that can certainly be underplayed (i.e. ignored) in some quarters or overplayed (Page 1 headlines in Morgantown's daily newspaper) in others.
We will attempt to do neither and rather explain what we know, simply because it is out there lurking in the shadows and - for Slaughter's sake and that of WVU's football program - must not remain the topic of rumors and innuendo that could spiral out of control left unaddressed.
Slaughter's troubles began in early February of 2008 while he was in his second season as the rather successful head football coach and athletic director at Glen Rose High School in Texas. That was when he applied for and was virtually certain to become the coach at Stephenville High School, also in Texas and in the town where he attended college at Tarleton State.
Abruptly, though, Slaughter withdrew from contention for the job at Stephenville and asked that he might be allowed to return to the job he had yet to leave at Glen Rose. The request was granted, but then on Feb. 14 of that year he was placed on administrative leave. Five days later he resigned.
The reason he was placed on administrative leave was, according to the letter he received from Glen Rose Independent School District superintendent G. Wayne Rolen, "allegations you discussed with me and which were first reported to Stephenville ISD Superintendent Dr. Darrell Floyd by a former female student of that district.'' The letter goes on to say that Rolen reported the "alleged misconduct'' to the Texas State Board for Educator Certification.
Now, all of that seems pretty incriminating, and is even more so now that, four years later, Slaughter has admitted to the charges. If he had not done so before, he did so in a statement provided by WVU officials when asked about the incident, citing "a serious error in judgment.''