Making the Case for John Beilein to Return at West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — Wren Baker is slowly narrowing his list of potential candidates to replace Josh Eilert as the next head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers, but one man stands above the rest as the obvious choice if he’s interested in the position.

John Beilein.

Beilein, 71, most recently served as the Senior Player Development Advisor for the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association, but according to sources, he would be interested in the position if it were to be offered to him. In fact, prior to the start of this season, West Virginia University and Beilein had serious discussions about him returning to coach the Mountaineers, but the timing was wrong and ultimately it didn’t happen.

With that said, after a year off and time to reflect on the end of his career, Beilein coming back to Morgantown to finish his career appears to be the right situation at the right time. Although it was difficult to quickly turn a program around in the past, the new NIL rules make going from last place in the conference to an immediate contender relatively easy.

Beilein is considered one of the most brilliant, innovative minds in the history of college basketball and would be the absolutely perfect coach to fill the vacancy for a few years. Beilein, surrounded by a young, talented staff of assistants and outstanding recruiters, would instantly make the Mountaineers contenders again. When Beilein is ready to retire at the appropriate time (say, in 2 or 3 years), one of his assistants can step in as his eventual replacement.

One of the reported sticking points for Beilein returning to West Virginia last season was that he wanted his son, Patrick, to be the head coach in-waiting when he retires. However, anyone who knows John Beilein knows that he is the epitome of professionalism and rumors of a demand like that are absolutely ridiculous. Patrick Beilein, a former guard for the Mountaineers and former head coach at West Virginia Wesleyan and Le Moyne, would however make an terrific, trusted member of his father’s coaching staff as an assistant coach.

Beilein, who was 104-60 overall at West Virginia from 2002-2007, including an NCAA Elite 8 and NCAA Sweet 16 appearance, as well as an NIT Championship, also led Michigan to two Sweet 16s, an Eilte 8 and 2 National Championship appearances in his twelve seasons with the Wolverines. In other words, he has led teams to the very pinnacle of success and could do the same with the Mountaineers again.

John Beiliein is a winner and one of the most accomplished, respected people in the history of the sport, and if he’s interested in returning to Morgantown, it would be an absolute no-brainer for Wren Baker to hire him to lead the Mountaineers again.