MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Tara Trickett’s phone rang early Saturday morning, a few hours before she’d be at Mountaineer Field to watch her son, Clint, pass for 322 yards and three touchdowns to lead West Virginia to a 41-27 victory against then-No. 4 Baylor.
The celebration should have been longer and happier than it was, but Tara could no longer keep her son in the dark.
His father, former Mountaineers offensive line coach Rick Trickett, had a heart attack around 5 a.m. in Tallahassee, Florida.
“She was prepared when she told me,” Trickett said Tuesday. “She calmed me down after five, 10, 15 minutes and after I’d talked to him. But the first time you hear that your dad had a heart attack, it’s like, ‘What?’ “
Rick has been the offensive line coach at Florida State since 2007 and he would sit out his chance to get the family another win against a top-five team. Trickett did not coach the second-ranked Seminoles that night when they defeated then-No. 5 Notre Dame.
“When he said he wanted to coach and he was upset about not coaching, it was just like, ‘Retire. I’m going to be done after this year. Come watch me play in Canada next year,’ ” Clint said.
“I want him to live forever, obviously. Everybody wants their parents to live forever. I love my dad.”
Clint said his father is fine now.
“He’s good, and that’s the most important thing,” Trickett said. “He’s back at work.”
Rick was a WVU assistant from 2001-06 and Clint was around the football program at practices and in the locker room a whole lot in that time. Those experiences stick with him today, he and his coach Dana Holgorsen believe, and help him lead the Mountaineers.
The family moved to Florida after WVU defeated Georgia Tech in the 2007 Gator Bowl and Rick was reunited with Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher, who had been a friend of the family long before he and Trickett worked on Nick Saban’s staff at LSU in 2000. Fisher was the offensive coordinator then and would succeed Bobby Bowden in 2010.
Clint made the moves from one job to another, but seemed set in Florida. He was a star quarterback at North Florida Christian and pursued a dream of playing with his dad when he decided to go to college at Florida State. He graduated after three years and transferred to WVU, but the distance didn’t diminish the bond he had with his father.
“It’s strong. It’s a lot stronger and a lot different than most father-son bonds because there are so many similarities between me and him and our love for this game and our work ethic, but also because he wasn’t there a lot,” Clint said. “I’m not saying he was an absent father, because he wasn’t, but it was his job and he was a very busy guy, especially with him being overly competitive and spending more time on it than he had to, which was already a lot of time.”
The two made sure to stay in touch Saturday night as the Seminoles beat Notre Dame. Florida State dedicated the win to its offensive line coach afterward.
“I was texting him during it,” Clint said. “He wished he could have been there and he felt like he let his guys down. He wanted to be there for them and they missed him, but his health comes first. I’m just glad he’s good now.”
|CLINT TRICKETT SEASON TOTALS|
Clint, however, had his own smaller health concern. His eighth consecutive 300-yard passing game, which extended his school record, was the first one he’d played with a nasty hit-and-run virus.
“He was fine,” Holgorsen said. “He had a 24-hour bug. I told him Michael Jordan did it. He can do it. He was sick, but he got out there and played well. It was no big deal.”
Trickett downplayed it, too, but it hit him hard Friday and bothered him Saturday.
“It was a rough day,” he said. “The day before was rough. I don’t know what happened, but it kind of just came up on me, and it was rough. I had a lot of sleep and my body felt drained, just exhausted. I had to get an IV at halftime, and that helped, but it was rough.
“It was about all the adversity I could take in a game.”
As news of his illness and his dad’s scare spread, Trickett said friends, family members and strangers reached out to congratulate and console him.
“I received so much support from everyone — teammates, coaches, fans,” he said.