Everhart Excited to Work With Huggs
It turns out the opportunity to work with Bob Huggins was simply too good to turn down, says Ron Everhart.
On Monday afternoon, Huggins announced that the ex-Duquesne-Northeastern-McNeese State head coach is replacing Jerrod Calhoun on the Mountaineer coaching staff. Calhoun was named Fairmont State’s head coach last month.
Growing up in Fairmont, W.Va., Everhart says he is happy to be back close to his roots.
“After talking to Coach Huggins and just even considering having the opportunity to work for him and being in a hall of fame coaching environment like he presents - having the ability to do that at home where I grew up - that was obviously option No. 1A and I’m very honored and proud to be given that opportunity right here and right now,” said Everhart.
Earlier this spring, Everhart was fired after six seasons at Duquesne despite producing another winning season (16-15) and a 99-89 overall record with the Dukes. The year before Everhart arrived at Duquesne in 2006, the Dukes won just three games.
“I think he’s going to bring a great deal to the table,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “My assistant coaches - it’s not one of those deals where they get to supervise and officiate scrimmages - they coach. It kind of gets broken up into the guards, the wing guys and the bigs, and really all of the individual breakdown stuff they handle.”
Everhart and Huggins go back almost 40 years when Huggins was a Mountaineer player and they used to shoot baskets together at the WVU Coliseum. Everhart has even slept on the floor of Huggins’ dormitory room when the weather was bad.
“I got snowed in here one night and my friends all left me and Coach Huggins allowed me to stay on his dorm room floor many, many years ago and that’s something I’ve always remembered,” Everhart recalled.
Everhart faced Huggins five times as a coach (once while Huggins was at Cincinnati and four times since his return to West Virginia) and he has also gone up against former WVU coaches Gale Catlett and John Beilein.
During the 2003-04 season, Everhart’s Northeastern team stunned West Virginia, 91-84, at the Coliseum during Beilein’s first year with the Mountaineers. Naturally, that is a game Everhart fondly recalls. Everhart also mentioned how well prepared Huggins’ teams are and how difficult it is to score against them.
“Every time we lined up against Coach Huggins we were going to be guarded very, very hard for 40 minutes,” he said. “We could never crack the shell because of coach’s team’s ability to guard you down the stretch and make big shots and make big plays.”
Everhart says he hasn’t had a chance to sit down and talk individual coaching responsibilities or recruiting territories yet with Huggins.
“Staff-wise, we haven’t broken that down to a point where I would know any of the details as we sit here right now,” he said.
However, Huggins said he is excited about Everhart’s recruiting contacts that he has developed over a 27-year coaching career.
“Ron does a great job recruiting,” Huggins said. “He’s got contacts in a lot of places that certainly we didn’t have, so I think he’s going to do a great job.”
Everhart said the key to recruiting success is having plenty of things to sell and he’s anxious to get out on the road and promote West Virginia University.
“The bottom line is in any recruiting process it’s about you having the ability to sell something that is great and viable,” he explained. “Obviously, having the ability to sell Coach Huggins and his success, and his ability to give guys opportunities to play beyond college, is a tremendous one. To have the ability to sell the university and the state of West Virginia is something that I feel very comfortable with having grown up here.”
Everhart said that he respects Huggins so much that he once considered taking an assistant coaching position on Huggins’ staff while he was the head coach at Northeastern.
“In a lot of ways, I regret not doing that at that point in time,” said Everhart. “We talked about it seriously.”
As for once again becoming a head coach, Everhart said that is not on his radar screen right now.
“I’ve been a head coach for 18 years,” he said. “I’ve had a good run and right now I just want to help a guy who has really helped me for a lot of years and a man who I respect and admire greatly.
“I don’t have any plans or designs on considering anything like that (another head coaching position).”
In the meantime, Everhart said his biggest job will be getting himself up to speed with the Big 12 Conference.
“I am going to educate myself, with the help of the guys here, as quickly as possible,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a very tough league with some very good basketball teams and ones that will present challenges for us. Every league is tough, but it seems like one (Big 12 team) is involved in the Final Four every year.”
West Virginia University Mountaineers, WVU, Ron Everhart, Big 12 men's basketball
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