Morgantown, West Virginia – Over the last couple of days, vague reports have surfaced on social media from sources with questionable repute about possible changes to the West Virginia Mountaineers basketball coaching staff.
These changes were labeled as “imminent”, “inevitable”, but the details were extremely murky. Whether these rumors were true or entirely fabricated remains unseen, but the bottom line is that these changes have been needed for years.
Bob Huggins’ current coaching staff is aging and is desperately in need of an injection of youth and a breath of fresh air. While Larry Harrison (66 years old), Ron Everhart (59) and Erik Martin (49) are experienced, dependable assistant coaches who have long histories with Huggins, student athletes often relate and respond to coaches closer to their own age.
In addition, it would be far easier for a younger coach to form relationships with high school players and recruit them to West Virginia. It’s getting harder and harder for Huggins to make a case for a student to come to Morgantown to play for the Mountaineers. Huggins’ tough, hard-nose coaching style is not exactly a selling point to an 18 year old basketball player any longer.
Huggins needs a young coach that can relate to today’s players. While there are many outstanding young coaches in the country, none would be a better fit for the Mountaineers than former West Virginia guard Joe Mazzulla.
Mazzulla, the former Fairmont State Head Coach and current assistant for the Boston Celtics, is exactly what the West Virginia basketball program needs. During his two seasons at Fairmont State, Mazzulla led the Falcons to a 43-17 overall record and earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
An ideal situation for the basketball program would be to hire Mazzulla during the offseason with the idea being that he would eventually take over as the Head Coach when Bob Huggins decides he wants to retire. No promises should be made to Mazzulla and he should not be given a “coach-in-waiting” tag, but certainly the suggestion could be made that he is joining the staff with the idea of him eventually replacing Huggins.
Mazzulla is passionate, he’s young (31), energetic, smart (named to the Big East Academic All Star team three consecutive years) and, most importantly, he loves the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Bob Huggins is going to have to make major changes and hiring a young, passionate, smart assistant coach like Mazzulla is the big, splashy move that could completely turn the basketball program around immediately.