A New Opportunity

The end of his six-year tenure at Duquesne was hardly ideal, but Ron Everhart found a soft place to fall when the chance to reunite with his old friend Bob Huggins presented itself.

Everhart was officially introduced as the newest West Virginia assistant during a teleconference Monday afternoon -- just about a half hour after the school confirmed the hire in a press release.

The Fairmont native's enthusiasm for his new job was apparent, as Everhart insisted the move from a head coaching position back to being an assistant was not the least bit sobering.

"In all honesty, this is something I've really wanted to do for a very long time," Everhart said. "I'm not so sure that even if I was a head coach somewhere right now, I wouldn't have given up that opportunity to take this one. That's how much it means to me."

Indeed, the only regret Everhart expressed is that he didn't jump at the chance to work with Huggins sooner. This is the second time discussions between the two were serious, and Everhart said he seriously contemplated leaving his head coaching job at Northeastern (where he worked from 2002-06) to be an assistant under Huggins.

So Everhart said he never seriously entertained the thought of leaving the coaching profession behind altogether or holding out for a head coaching position once his tenure at Duquesne came to an abrupt end in late March.

"I can tell you that after talking to Coach Huggins and just considering having the opportunity to work for him, being in a Hall of Fame coaching environment like he presents, and having the opportunity to do that where I grew up, that was Option 1A," Everhart said, before going on to insist there was no "Option 1B."

Everhart replaces Jerrod Calhoun, who left the WVU staff after one year as an assistant to take the head coaching job at Division II Fairmont (W.Va.) State.

One of the draws of bringing Everhart on staff was his recruiting acumen, according to Huggins.

"He's got contacts in a lot of places that really we don't have," the head coach said.

But those contacts only go so far, Everhart insisted. What will help draw players to Morgantown is what the program has to offer.

"The bottom line in any recruiting process is having the ability to sell something," Everhart said. "Having the ability to sell Coach Huggins and his success, his ability to give guys opportunities beyond the college level is a tremendous one. It's the ability to sell the university and the state of West Virginia, which is something I'm very comfortable with having grown up there."

NOTES:

  • Huggins' relationship with Everhart goes back many decades, and Everhart has regularly appeared at charity events hosted by Huggins during the latter's tenure as head coach at WVU.

    Everhart recalled being left behind by friends in Morgantown decades ago, just before a snowstorm hit the area. Everhart spent the night sleeping on the floor of Huggins' dorm room on campus.

    If Everhart needs a place to crash these days, the arrangement might be a bit more comfortable, according to Huggins. "I've got a lot of bedrooms," the head coach quipped.

  • Everhart took the high road when asked about the end of his tenure at Duquesne, saying only that it was his understanding that all contractual obligations had been met to finalize the exit.

    He was pressed to offer further thoughts on the decision the Dukes athletic director Greg Amodio made to fire him.

    "I may have [had thoughts to share] before today, but after the way things have worked out, not one regret," Everhart said. "Not one disappointment."

  • The Mountaineers' assistant coaching staff of Everhart, Larry Harrison and Erik Martin -- combined with assistant to the head coach Billy Hahn -- should make for one of the more experienced groups in the entire Big 12 Conference.

    "I need a lot of help," Huggins deadpanned. "Really, when you think about having Billie here and Larry and Ronnie, and Erik having played for me and been with me for the last six years, going on seven, I would think that would give us a lot of advantages."

    The newest assistant promised to go to work to learn a bit more about WVU's new conference opposition.

    "I'll educate myself with the help of the guys here as quickly as possible," Everhart said. "Obviously, it's a tough league with good basketball teams. It will be a challenge for us. Every league is very tough, but the Big 12 is obviously, every year, one of the best."


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