MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — Following Bob Huggins’ embarrassing DUI over the summer, the West Virginia basketball program was left in pieces, and Josh Eilert did his best to hold it together under incredibly tough circumstances. However, at 7-13 overall and 2-5 in the Big 12 Conference, and with the Mountaineers unlikely to be favored to win another single game on its schedule, it’s clear that director of athletics Wren Baker will almost certainly look to find the team’s next head coach following the season.
With that said, there are several coaches with outstanding resumes that Baker has prioritized as his top picks to take over the program. Per a source close to the program, here are the coaches who are being considered as West Virginia’s next men’s basketball head coach:
1A – Dusty May, Head Coach, Florida Atlantic University
Why Dusty May? May, 47, is perhaps the hottest young coach in college basketball. Last seaosn, May led Florida Atlantic to a 35-4 record and a trip to the NCAA Final Four. Florida Atlantic is 16-4 overall and 6-1 in conference play this season, and May, the reigning Conference USA Coach of the Year, is 117-64 (.646 winning percentage).
Why Not Dusty May? There aren’t a lot of negatives with May, but it’s possible that he wouldn’t stay in Morgantown permanently if a better job opened up, particularly if his alma mater Indiana Hoosiers came knocking.
1B – Greg McDermott, Head Coach, Creighton
Why Greg McDermott? McDermott has had major success throughout his career and has coached in the Big 12 (Iowa State) before. McDermott, 57, has a career 594-350 (.629) record and has led Creighton to NCAA appearances 8 out of the last 11 years, including an Elite 8 appearance last year.
Why not Greg McDermott? During his time in the Big 12 at Iowa State from 2006-2010, McDermott was only 59-68 overall and 18-46 in conference play.
1C – Niko Medved, Head Coach, Colorado State
Why Niko Medved? Medved, 50, has done a tremendous job of winning at smaller schools and has connections to West Virginia through his wife, whose father is a major donor and season-ticket holder. At Colorado State, Medved has a 104-67 record and was the Southern Conference Coach of the Year in 2017.
Why not Niko Medved? No Power 5 coaching experience, underwhelming results, not seen as a sexy hire.
1D – Andy Enfield, Head Coach, USC
Why Andy Enfield? Enfield, 54, has coached as an assistant in the NBA and has been at USC for the last 11 seasons. He has been successful during his time with the Trojans with a 212-139 overall record. Enfield was born in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania and reportedly wants to retire closer to home.
Why not Andy Enfield? USC is 8-11 this season and there’s a very good chance that he could end up on the hot seat before the season ends.
2A – Chris Beard, Head Coach, Ole Miss
Why Chris Beard? Beard, 50, has had tremendous success everywhere he’s coached (252-100 record, .716 winning percentage) and has led Ole Miss to a 16-3 record in his first year with the program.
Why not Chris Beard? Way too much baggage. Before last year, Beard seemed like a natural replacement for Huggins when he retired, but Beard’s arrest while head coach at Texas is likely just too much for West Virginia to seriously consider him. Also, would he even come to West Virginia now with a pretty cushy job at Ole Miss?
2B – Darris Nichols, Head Coach, Radford
Why Darris Nichols? Nichols, 37, is a former West Virginia point guard and has climbed the coaching ranks since graduating from West Virginia University. He’s a young, hungry head coach who has done well at Radford (42-38).
Why not Darris Nichols? Nichols was arrested for DUI last year after having a blood alcohol level of 0.25, triple the legal limit. After Huggins’ arrest and forced resignation, it’s unfortunately very unlikely that Baker and Gee would take the risk of hiring someone with this history.
Swing For the Fences (unlikely to happen)
Joe Mazzulla, Head Coach, Boston Celtics
Why Joe Mazzulla? A highly-respected head coach in the NBA, Mazzulla, 35, has one of the best jobs in all of basketball. Last season, he led the Celtics to a 57-25 record and an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. Boston is currently in first place with a 35-10 record, but the Celtics have massive expectations and Mazzulla could be fired if they don’t win championships. If that happens, Mazzulla would certainly consider coming home to coach the Mountaineers.
Why Not Joe Mazzulla? There are no reasons not to hire him. If Joe Mazzulla is willing to coach at West Virginia, Wren Baker better pay him whatever he wants.
Not Happening (but will be mentioned)
Bob Huggins, Former Head Coach, West Virginia
Why Bob Huggins? He’s one of the winngest head coaches in college basketball history. He’s a Hall of Famer and he’s still beloved in the state of West Virginai.
Why Not Bob Huggins? He not only embarrassed himself with his DUI and derogatory remarks on a Cincinnati radio station, he’s also not handled himself well after his forced resignation. West Virginia President Gordon Gee has said that Bob Huggins will not be re-hired and Wren Baker is far too intelligent to ever get mixed up with Huggins again. It’s not happening.
Josh Eilert, Current Interim Head Coach, West Virginia
Why Josh Eilert? He’s done everything possible to keep the program together and has handled a really tough situation with a lot of class. In my opinion, he deserves another year.
Why Not Josh Eilert? Wren Baker said prior to the season that he would hold a national search for the next head coach after this basketball season, and although he didn’t come out and say it, Eilert would have needed a miracle season to have a chance to become the permanent head coach. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened.
Wren Baker’s top choices to become West Virginia’s next head coach, per source:
Dusty May, Florida Atlantic
Niko Medved, Colorado State
Greg McDermott, Creighton
Andy Enfield, USC#WVU
— The Voice of Morgantown (@voicemorgantown) January 27, 2024