Last week, DubVNation published the first installment of a two part series on coaches with ties to WVU that may one day replace Bob Huggins on the Mountaineer sideline. Part one focused on the former players who have popped up in the coaching ranks in recent years and today, we will take a look at both current and former WVU men’s basketball staff members that have a chance to take over the program one day.
The easiest place to start when it comes to staff members is with the current associate head coach under Bob Huggins, Larry Harrison. Other than Huggs himself, Harrison is the coach with the most experience in Morgantown, having spent the last thirteen years at WVU with ten of them coming as associate head coach. Harrison just celebrated his fortieth year in coaching last season. Prior to WVU he spent a single season with the Washington Wizards organization which was preceded by his only head coaching stint, a six year stay at Hartford. He tallied a 67-107 record with the Hawks but was able to take a last place team to third in the conference in his time there, winning America East Coach of the Year in his final season. Harrison was able to find himself in that head coaching position through the fourteen years he spent as a high-level assistant coach. Three of those years were spent at DePaul but he first had an eight year tenure with Bob Huggins at Cincinnati. He got his first shot in Division I at American where he was on staff for three years. Ahead of his time in Washington, DC he was an assistant at Hillsborough Community College for three seasons after beginning his career with six years as a high school assistant coach in the northeast. Larry Harrison has built up an immense amount of experience over his forty years in coaching. His thirteen years at WVU may make him a prime candidate for the head coaching job when Bob Huggins retires.
Ron Everhart has the most head coaching experience of any name featured here, having spent eighteen years as the lead man at three different programs. Before the six seasons he has been staff at WVU, he spent six seasons north on I-79 at Duquesne where he led the Dukes to three consecutive postseason appearances during his tenure. The Fairmont native was infamously fired by mass staff email after disagreements with university administration. Before his time in the Steel City, Everhart led the program at Northeastern for five years, taking home an America East Coach of the Year award while he was there. His first head coaching position was at McNeese State where he built the program up from the cellar in his seven seasons, even winning Southland Conference Coach of the Year and a conference regular season championship. He gained his experience for these jobs in eight years as a DI assistant with. six coming at Tulane and two with VMI. He broke into coaching as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech after a standout four year career at Virginia Tech. Ron Everhart has a track record of program building wherever he has gone as a head coach and while his tenure at Duquesne ended on a sour note, he has the experience to be a candidate for the head coaching job at WVU.
Erik Martin rounds out the current coaching staff and is the least experienced member on the bench. Martin oversees development of post players and has had a hand in the breakouts of players like Joe Alexander, Devin Williams, Sagaba Konate, and Derek Culver. He has been at WVU since Bob Huggins arrived and entered the Division I ranks as an assistant coach at Kansas State during Huggins’ single year there. Prior to his season in Manhattan, Martin was on staff at Cincinnati State and Technical College for three seasons. His first coaching job was as an assistant at Jacobs Center High School in Ohio. Martin preceded his coaching career with nine years in the professional ranks after a standout stint playing for Huggs at Cincinnati. Erik Martin has been an integral part of staff at WVU and while he lacks head coaching experience, the progress he has made in developing some of the Mountaineers’ best players in recent years may give him a shot at the head coaching job upon Bob Huggins retirement.
Jerrod Calhoun is the only man to assist Bob Huggins at WVU and go on to secure a head coaching position of his own. He is currently in his second head job, and first in Division I, at Youngstown State. Calhoun completed his second season at YSU this season after spending the previous five years at Fairmont State where he held the job before Joe Mazzulla. Calhoun led the Fighting Falcons to an appearance in the NCAA Division II National Championship and a runner-up finish in his five years in Fairmont. This followed up on five years on staff at WVU where he spent his first four seasons as director of basketball operations before replacing Billy Hahn as a full-time assistant for his final season. He came to WVU after three seasons as an assistant at the location of Bob Huggins’ first head job at Walsh College. This was his first paid position after a year as a student assistant at Cincinnati which came about after an abbreviated playing career at Cleveland State. Jerrod Calhoun has not had much success at Youngstown State but he has been mentored by Bob Huggins for years. If he can find some success as a head coach, he may just have the inside track on being the next head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Mike Jones helped John Beilein get his rebuild off the ground at WVU as a member of his very first staff in Morgantown. He is currently reaping the fruits of his very own rebuild at Radford. Jones has picked up 132 wins in his eight years leading the Highlanders and built the program up from a one win team to twenty-two wins in just three years. He has also won Big South Coach of the Year honors and has conference regular season and tournament championships to his name, the latter resulting in Radford’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. Between his time at WVU and getting hired at Radford, Jones was a key assistant for Shaka Smart at VCU in a two year stint that included the Rams’ Final Four run. He left Morgantown to take a job at Georgia where he spent six years in the lead up to his time at VCU. He first joined Beilein’s coaching staff at Richmond where he was part of his last two teams. Jones was also a standout player at Howard where he attended for four years. Mike Jones was a part of the last regime at WVU but his immense success at the mid-major level makes him an intriguing candidate to replace Bob Huggins in the future.
Jeff Neubauer is currently the head coach at Fordham and is one of the longest tenured head coaches in this feature. He just completed year four with the Rams after a ten season stint at the helm of the Eastern Kentucky men’s basketball team. While there he tallied 188 wins and picked up two NCAA Tournament appearances. Prior to his hiring there, he was John Beilein’s top assistant at WVU for three years and helped oversee some of the program’s high points. He gained his first full-time coaching employment under Beilein during his time at Richmond where he spent five years on the Spiders’ bench. Neubauer got his start as a graduate assistant at the Citadel for three years, following up on an outstanding playing career with the La Salle Explorers. Jeff Neubauer has been in the coaching game for a very long time and he’s going on fifteen years as a head coach. His ties to one of the greatest era’s in WVU history and his experience leading a program will likely give him a shot to be the next top guy on the bench for WVU.
Zach Spiker has been associated with WVU for most of his entire life. The son of WVU’s legendary athletic trainer John Spiker, Zach has been seen as the hometown boy done good since he began his coaching career. He is now in his second head coaching job, going into his third season at the top of the bench for the Drexel Dragons. Previously, he was the head coach at Army West Point for seven years. In his time there, he was named Patriot League Coach of the Year and Skip Prosser Man of the Year while picking up 102 wins which tied him with Bob Knight for the second most wins by a coach in school history. In addition, he became the first coach in school history to win 15 games in four consecutive seasons. Spiker got his start on the bench at Cornell where he spent five years as an assistant. He also spent four years in various graduate positions, two years as an administrative graduate assistant at WVU and two as a coaching graduate assistant at Winthrop under current Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall. Spiker had a successful playing career at Ithaca before he began coaching. Zach Spiker would be one heck of a story if he became the man to replace Bob Huggins and he may have the experience to be a legitimate candidate sooner rather than later.
John Mahoney is probably the least likely candidate seen here but he would be and interesting one nonetheless. Once a trusted Beilein assistant, Mahoney has branched out from the college game and may bring a fresh perspective to Division I athletics. Mahoney currently serves as the coach of the post-graduate team and a skill instructor at IMG Academy where he has helped coach five current NBA players in his seven years on staff. Previously, he spent a single year on staff at St. Francis after joining John Beilein for his first three years at Michigan. He was the director of basketball operations for Beilein’s final season at WVU after four years on Danny Nee’s bench at Duquesne. He was also an assistant for Nee during his time at Robert Morris in the three previous years. He held his only head coaching job prior to this as he spent three years at the helm for Division III Mount Aloysius. He was also the head coach at a Pittsburgh Class A high school powerhouse in Our Lady of Sacred Heart. John Mahoney has been out of college coaching for seven years and has never been a Division I head coach, but his experience with player development and recruiting at IMG may make him a candidate to consider when Bob Huggins’ tenure is up.
Bob Huggins coaching tenure at West Virginia is going to come to an end one day. Mountaineer fans need to be prepared to see a new face on the bench in the future. There are plenty of candidates, both former players and staff members who could fill that void when it comes time to put a new leader in the WVU locker room.
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