Morgantown, West Virginia – When Darris Nichols returned to the WVU Coliseum as an assistant coach for the Florida Gators last season, it was a really big deal for him.
“It meant a lot,” he said. “Just for the simple fact that a lot of the people on the other side of the court, on the other bench, are people who have helped me get to where I am today. To me, that is a homecoming.”
Nichols, a former point guard for the Mountaineers from 2004-2008, averaged 10.7 points and 3.2 assists as a senior for a West Virginia team that went 26-11 in Bob Huggins’ first season in Morgantown, and he is now the head coach of the Radford Highlanders’ men’s basketball team.
Radford (3-5) will be in Morgantown today to play the West Virginia Mountaineers (6-1) in a matchup that could feature West Virginia’s legendary head coach (Bob Huggins) against the Mountaineers’ potential future head coach (Darris Nichols).
Nichols continues to climb the coaching ranks and has been impressive both on and off the court and Huggins remembers Nichols fondly.
“He was a coach on the floor,” Huggins said of his former player. “Darris was like the quarterback on our team. He got the ball where it was supposed to go when it was supposed to get there and defensively he kinda help put guys where they were supposed to be.”
Nichols was an outstanding player, but he’s probably an even better coach.
“Well, I was honestly a little surprised he didn’t keep playing for a little longer. He came in and said he wanted to be a coach, and that’s the direction he wanted to go. He’s obviously done a great job with it,” Huggins said.
Although West Virginians would love to have Bob Huggins roaming the sidelines for the Mountaineers forever, that simply cannot happen, and a post-Huggins plan has already likely been considered by West Virginia Director of Athletics Shane Lyons.
Nichols gaining experience as a head coach at Radford over the next several years until Huggins retires and then returning to take over for his former head coach would be a perfect, seamless transition for the West Virginia Mountaineers basketball program.