Dunn Settles In At Familiar Venue

New Mountaineer assistant basketball coach Jerry Dunn has some fond and not so fond memories of the WVU Coliseum from his visits while a coach at Penn State.

Dunn was at Penn State for nineteen seasons as an assistant and head coach, and although the Nittany Lions and West Virginia haven't crossed paths since 1991, Dunn is familiar with the Coliseum and its environment.

"I remember we had some great games down here," Dunn told BlueGoldNews.com. "It was a tough place to play, obviously - I think we only got out of here with one win in all the trips we made."

Those games are in the past now, and Dunn seems to prefer to talk about his new role as an assistant coach. Like just about every other person that knows John Beilein, Dunn speaks highly of his new boss.

"Coach Beilein has done a superb job at every stop he's made," said Dunn. "He's been very successful. I got to know him at different coaching events over the years. Right now I'm just settling in and figuring out my roles on the staff."

One of Dunn's duties, of course, will be recruiting. Although his areas of responsibility aren't finalized, he does have two locations where he has a number of contacts that could give WVU a jump start.

"Some of the areas I'll cover here will be similar to the ones I had Penn State," Dunn noted. "I have good relationships with a number of people in the Washington, D.C. area, and I also have a lot of contacts in the Midwest. We're still organizing for the recruiting season in July, and trying to see where I will fit in best."

"Fitting in" appears to be Dunn's primary goal in his initial months with the WVU program. Unlike some assistants, who may come looking to put their own stamp on the program, Dunn wants to first get a handle on Beilein's system.

"I'm not looking to start making changes," Dunn said of his initial goals. "I've watched a little bit of tape from last year's team, and I want to make sure I know how things work. I have a lot of respect for what the coaches have done here."

Like everyone else affected the by the unsettled conference situation, Dunn has some different opinions on what those types of changes can bring. He was at Penn State when the Nittany Lions headed for the Big Ten, so he's seen firsthand what a changing conference scenario can do.

"Not being able to play your natural rivalries is one of the biggest problems," Dunn analyzed. "You develop new rivalires, but I'm not sure if they are ever like the old ones, especially for the fans.

"On the other hand, the bigger conferences often result in fewer conference games, because you can't play everyone twice. So, you can add some more attractive non-league games to your schedule."

Even with that issue swirling about, Dunn is trying not to get too caught up in the speculation. He's concentrating on getting up to speed with the WVU program and preparing for the summer recruiting rounds, while at the same time making sure everyone knows how he feels about his opportunity at West Virginia.

"I just want to make sure everyone knows that I'm extremely excited to be here," Dunn said as he ended the interview.

If nothing else, Dunn won't have to face the wrath of Mountaineer fans on the visiting end of the bench the next time he sets foot on the Coliseum floor.

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