Eilert Deserves More Time

MORGANTOWN, WV – To say that this season has been challenging for WVU Interim Head Men’s Basketball Coach Josh Eilert would be an understatement. Following the departure of Bob Huggins back in the summer, Eilert was tabbed to lead the program for a one-year trial run. He was tasked with not only preparing the team for the season ahead, but also keeping a talented roster together that was flooding to the NCAA Transfer Portal.

The Mountaineers quickly fell from a team that was expected to compete in the Big 12 to a roster barely fielding enough players to even compete. This was not a job that many coaches could have found success in given the circumstances. Certainly not a first-time head coach that has spent the better part of two decades as an assistant.

Sitting at 7-11 (2-3 in Big 12 play) two-thirds of the way through January is not a feat that fans nor the program will take pride in. There is no doubt that this has been an extremely disappointing season for the Mountaineers.

However, what Eilert has pulled off over the last two weeks has proven that he may just have what it takes to win at this level. Taking down 25th-ranked Texas at home was impressive enough, but what transpired at the WVU Coliseum tonight may just give him enough leverage to raise some eyebrows with donors and the university.

West Virginia took down the 3rd-ranked Kansas Jayhawks, 91-85, marking Eliert’s first signature win with the Mountaineers. For what seemed like the first time all season, the ball bounced in WVU’s favor virtually all night. The team was ready to roll from the start, and withstood many haymakers from a team that is expected to contend for a National Championship.

The roster was still not at full potential for the Mountaineers, but that did not hinder them. West Virginia was well-coached and in the right mindset to pull of the upset. This can be attributed solely to Eilert and his relatively young coaching staff. For as much heat as Eilert has received this season, giving him applause when it is well-deserved is necessary.

Outside of a blowout loss to Houston, the Mountaineers have been competitive all season. They have played with heart, and put up a fight when it seemed like the world was against them. It is for that reason, and the massive win over Kansas, that Josh Eilert is well on his way to earning more time in Morgantown.

Barring a complete collapse down the stretch, Eilert should be given the opportunity to have the “interim” tag removed. He has shown that he is capable of leading the program through the toughest of trials. Given a normal offseason and usual circumstances, there is reason for fans to believe that Eilert may just field a competitive team moving forward.

Only time will tell if Wren Baker will bite on retaining Eilert as the head coach, but he will not be without support from many around the fanbase, and even his own players.

Josh Eilert DESERVES more time with the Mountaineers.

(Photo by WVU Athletics)