MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – When the West Virginia men’s basketball team welcomes Radford to the WVU Coliseum on Saturday, they will be welcoming one of their own.
Former WVU guard Darris Nichols is the head coach of the Highlanders and will be making another trip to Morgantown to coach against his college coach, Bob Huggins.
This marks the second time in school history that a former player has come back to coach against West Virginia.
Next up is WVU alum Darris Nichols' Radford Highlanders, which defeated Eastern Kentucky by 13 last weekend. I believe it's only the second time ever a former WVU player has coached against the Mountaineers at the Coliseum.
Can you name the first?
— John Antonik (@JohnAntonik) December 1, 2021
The first? Fred Schaus in 1975, when he was coaching at Purdue.
Schaus coached the Mountaineers to their first Final Four in program history, back in 1959. Schaus went on to coach the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1960s, then going on to coach at Purdue.
Huggins actually played in that game against the Boilermakers and remembers the whacking that Schaus’ team gave them.
Back to Nichols.
Nichols made the trip to coach against WVU last season, when assisting Michael White at Florida. Nichols remembers his time at West Virginia, especially when he was on the team during the coaching change from John Beilein to Huggins.
Nichols explains the first meeting the team had with Huggins.
“I want to say our first meeting was something along the lines of, ‘I’m just going to give you a rule. I’ve always stuck by this, if you want to stick around here, you’ve gotta be good at something.’ We didn’t really understand what he was talking about when he was talking about it at first,” Nichols said.
Huggins was talking about basketball or academics, he just wanted them to be good at something.
In his senior season, coached by Huggins, Nichols averaged 10.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals in 37 games.
Nichols was hired by Radford in April 2021, and will be taking the Highlanders into Morgantown with a 4-4 record.
“He [Nichols] was great to coach,” Huggins said on Tuesday.
Now, former player and coach will go head-to-head, on Saturday. West Virginia and Radford are set to tip-off at 4 p.m. with the coverage being on ESPN+.