John Beilein has had 20-win seasons at four different levels of college basketball (Richmond Sports Comm.) "I'm very excited about the opportunity to coach at West Virginia University," says Beilein. "This is something I've strived for since I was a high school coach in 1975.
"I have a lot of respect for West Virginia, the tradition of the program and Gale Catlett. He was a tremendous coach who had a fabulous record at WVU."
At Richmond, Beilein compiled a 100-53 (.654) record in his five seasons with the Spiders, making him the second winningest coach in terms of percentage in the school's basketball history, and reached the century plateau faster than any coach in Richmond history.
"John Beilein is a man of integrity, education and experience," says WVU president David C. Hardesty Jr. "He is highly competitive and successful in any venue.
"He is well-rounded, pragmatic and focused. He is a man of impeccable character. When you couple this with his impressive credentials, he is the right coach for our players."
Beilein, 49, has a career record of 447-257 (.635), compiled winning records in 22 of 24 years as a head coach, including the past nine seasons, and has made six postseason appearances in his 10 years at the helm of a Division I college basketball program.
"At 49 years old and to have been a head coach for 24 years, winning 447 games is remarkable," says Pastilong. "He has been highly successful at every school he has coached and has had outstanding graduation rates at each stop. We're confident that he will continue to be successful at WVU."
This past season, Richmond finished with a 22-14 record in its first season in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Spiders reached the finals of the conference championship and won three games in the NIT before falling to Syracuse in the quarterfinals. Richmond was second in the nation in fewest turnovers per game (10.3).
In 2000-01, Beilein led Richmond to a 22-7 mark, captured the regular season crown in the Colonial Athletic Association and advanced to postseason play in the NIT. The Spiders hosted an opening round NIT contest and defeated West Virginia 79-56 before losing in the second round at Dayton.
That season, Richmond boasted the 10th best scoring defense in the country, holding its opponents to 60.8 points per contest. The Spiders were fourth in the nation in fewest turnovers per game (10.9).
In his first year at Richmond, Beilein orchestrated one of the most memorable campaigns in program history, leading the Spiders to a 23-win season, a CAA title and an NCAA tournament appearance. The Spiders grabbed national headlines that season by edging South Carolina, 62-61, in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Beilein followed his first year with a 15-12 overall record in 1998-99. Despite losing 81 percent of the team's scoring and 86 percent of its rebounding from the previous season's NCAA tournament team, Beilein continued to establish Richmond as one of the nation's rising programs.
Success has followed Beilein at nearly every coaching stop. He has compiled 22 winning seasons and put together 11 20-win campaigns. Beilein is the only person in the collegiate coaching ranks currently to record a 20-win season at four different levels – junior college, NAIA, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division I.
Prior to arriving at Richmond, Beilein spent five years as the head coach at Canisius. During his tenure with the Golden Griffins, Beilein led the team to three consecutive postseason appearances, including the 1996 NCAA tournament. His exploits in rebuilding the Canisius program earned him Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference honors as well as New York State Division I Coach of the Year accolades.
Before assuming the coaching responsibilities at Canisius, Beilein turned a once-dismal LeMoyne squad into a Division II contender. In 1987-88, LeMoyne won a school-record 24 games, was crowned Mideast conference champions and earned a berth in the Division II tournament.
Beilein served a one-year stint at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y., from 1982-83, leading the program to a 20-6 record. He accepted his first collegiate head coaching position, in 1978, at Erie Community College in Buffalo, N.Y., posting a 75-43 record in four years.
Beilein played college basketball at Wheeling Jesuit from 1971-75 and served as team captain his junior season. He received a bachelor's degree in history from there in 1975 and earned a master's degree in education from Niagara in 1976. Beilein began his coaching career at New Fame Central High in New Fame, N.Y., for three years before heading to Erie CC.
"I was most impressed with his campus experience where he makes every student count," adds Hardesty. "He's hands on. He cares that his players graduate, he cares that they value education, he cares about every aspect of their lives. As you know, we have worked very hard at WVU to be a student-centered organization and Coach Beilein's values could not be a better fit."
"John is a fine gentleman, team player and wonderful family man," says Pastilong. "Our fans and players will definitely like him. He is a very good fit for us and we're happy he's a part of the Mountaineer family."
Beilein will have a five-year contract that will pay him $550,000 annually. This includes a $150,000 base salary and $400,000 in guaranteed promotional income (Mountaineer Athletic Club appearances, radio, television, Internet and endorsements). Beilein will have the opportunity to earn an additional $175,000 per year in incentives and income from summer camps. Incentives will include graduation rates, team grade point averages, NCAA appearances, NIT appearances, BIG EAST championships and season ticket sales.
"With a lot of patience, understanding and hard work, I hope to bring West Virginia men's basketball to the top of the BIG EAST conference," says Beilein. "If you can compete at the top of the BIG EAST, then you will be known as one of the top teams in the nation."
A native of Burt, N.Y., he and his wife, Kathleen, have been married for 24 years. They have one daughter Seana (22) and three sons, Patrick (19), Mark (17) and Andrew (11).