Former West Virginia University Guard James Long is making a name for himself as a first year head coach at West Virginia Tech.
On Monday, Long was named River States Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Golden Bears to a 23-8 regular season record and a 16-1 Rivers State Conference record and a conference championship.
Focused on getting better. Excited for our guys to compete at Nationals.
— James Long (@CoachJamesLong) March 4, 2020
Only two years after finishing his career in a Mountaineer uniform, Long, a Charleston native, joined the Golden Bears in July as the team’s head coach. During the years after playing for WVU, Long served on Bob Huggins coaching staff as video coordinator.
As a Mountaineer from 2014-17, Long appeared in 23 games with one start on senior night against Iowa State. He would go on to open the game with a 3-pointer.
During his time as a student, Long was recognized for his academics while obtaining his bachelor’s degree in finance. He earned spots on the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll and Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
While Long expressed his appreciation for the award, he noted his focus is on his team getting better before Nationals.
“It is tough for me to enjoy this because we are focused on competing at Nationals next week. But, I feel the need to give credit where credit is due,” Long said in a social media post. “Thank you to everyone who voted and thought that highly of our program.”
Long also thanked all of the people who have helped him pave the way to where he is now.
“Thank you to Kenny Howell and President Long for giving me a chance,” he said “Thank you to Bob Williams for building a great foundation at Tech. Thank you to Coach Huggins, Joel Justus and everyone that has mentored me. Thank you to my family and friends for the constant support.”
He also said he could not be where he is without the people around him.
“You are only as good as the people around you,” Long began. “I an lucky to be surrounded by people that push me to be better. Payton Sturm and George Wilmore make our staff who we are. There is nothing I do without having open conversations with them beforehand. A far as our players, this team has given me one of the most special years I have ever experienced.”
“Their constant buy-in, focus and hunger to improve daily has driven the ship. They come in every day to get better, and in turn, elevate us as a coaching staff. … We believe in our group. Excited to show it in South Dakota.”
WVU Tech also had three players recognized on the All-RSC Men’s Basketball teams. Senior guard Junior Arrey was chosen as the RSC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year. Tamon Scruggs, a junior forward, was also named to the first-team. Junior guard Andreas Jonsson was named to the second-team and the champions of character team.
U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito congratulated Long on her Twitter page along with a handwritten letter by young Long which she still cherishes.
“Congrats, James! I still have the note you wrote me many, many years ago hanging in my office,” her post said. “Proud of all you’ve accomplished!”
Cover Photo Credit: WV Tech basketball.