College Basketball

West Virginia Tabs Assistant Josh Eilert As Interim Head Coach Following Huggins Exit

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WVU Has Decided to Hold Off On A National Search Until After the Year

After the departure of longtime head coach Bob Huggins, West Virginia basketball assistant Josh Eilert has been appointed as the interim head coach for the program. The university made the announcement on Saturday, stating that they had attempted to conduct a national search for a new coach but were unsuccessful. The search will continue at the end of the upcoming season. Athletic Director Wren Baker explained why they came to the quick conclusion to shut down a national search at this time.

“I spoke with knowledgeable basketball people around the country over the last week, including coaches, professional basketball executives and others of whom I trust to identify a strong group of candidates to speak with,” Baker said. “Ultimately what I came to recognize, was that conducting this search in late June was difficult for many of our candidates and also it put our talented student-athletes at a real disadvantage. With that said, we will conduct our national search at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season.”

The Abruptness of the Huggins Exit Made For A Difficult Search

Eilert assumes the role just six days after Huggins announced his resignation following a tumultuous offseason. Huggins had made an anti-gay slur during a radio interview in May, leading to his suspension and a significant reduction in his salary. Subsequently, on June 16, Huggins was arrested and charged with DUI, prompting his resignation the following day.

During his tenure, Huggins had an impressive record, guiding West Virginia to 11 NCAA tournament appearances in 16 seasons from 2007 to 2023. Under his leadership, the team reached the Final Four in 2010, marking the program’s second-ever appearance and their first since 1959. However, since Huggins’ departure, three players, including projected starting point guard Kerr Kriisa, have entered the transfer portal.

Eilert is the Guy Next Season

Josh Eilert, 42, brings experience as a former college basketball player, having played two seasons at Kansas State from 2002 to 2004. He initially joined West Virginia’s staff as a video coordinator in 2007, working closely with Huggins, and has held various roles within the program. In 2022, Eilert transitioned into a full-time assistant coaching position. As the interim head coach, he will now take on the responsibility of leading the team in the upcoming season.

“Josh Eilert is the right person to lead our men’s basketball program next season,” Baker said via the team statement. “He has been an important part of our success, and he has displayed great integrity, work ethic and dedication. He has been involved in all facets of our program during his time on the basketball staff, and he has earned this opportunity to coach our team on an interim basis for the 2023-24 season.”