TRIADELPHIA - Ron Everhart says he's never been happier.
Everhart, West Virginia University's newest men's basketball assistant coach, is back home.
He was raised in Fairmont and his wife's from Grafton, but his career as a coach has taken him to Georgia, Virginia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
PHOTO BY JIM ELLIOTT
Wheeling resident Andy Seals and his son, A.J., were able to interact Wednesday with WVU men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins, left, and former Mountaineers stars at the Robinson Auto Group.
He's got a set of 13-year-old twins (Ronnie and Gianna) who know Central West Virginia only as a vacation spot, but they, too, are thrilled to be back ''home'' near their grandparents.
''Probably everybody that has college degrees in both of our families have come from West Virginia University,'' said Everhart, who received his from Virginia Tech. ''We're really excited to be back.''
Everhart was in town Wednesday at Robinson Auto Group where fans were afforded the opportunity to take pictures and get autographs of several Mountaineers coaches and former players. He previously coached at Duquesne, where he was 99-89 in six seasons, some of which were during some extremely tough times at that school.
He was let go in March for reasons he still can't wrap his head around, but soon thereafter, West Virginia had an opening on its staff when assistant Jerrod Calhoun left for Fairmont State University and head coach Bob Huggins didn't hesitate to call his lifelong friend and offer a job.
These two met when Huggins was playing at West Virginia and a much younger Everhart always hung around the team. The bond they forged in those days has grown through the years. Everhart almost landed a job as a Huggins assistant much earlier in his career - when Huggins was at Cincinnati and he was at Northeastern- but it didn't work out and that job eventually went to current Kansas State coach Frank Martin.
''He's been an advisor and a mentor to me forever,'' Everhart said of Huggins. ''I'm just really happy and excited to come back and work for him at West Virginia University.
''He's a guy that I have great respect and admiration for. As a basketball coach and career-wise and just about everything else.''
After Huggins came back to West Virginia, the Mountaineers and Dukes scheduled an annual game against each other.
''It was a game we had to play because of the proximity and rivalry, but the last thing I would ever want to do is play against a Huggins-coached team,'' Everhart said. ''It's very, very tough. It's like going to the dentist.''
He said his coaching style isn't unlike that of Huggins and it should be no problem for him to fit right in.
''He's obviously a great coach. He's somebody I've always studied,'' Everhart said. ''Interestingly enough, I've always talked to our teams about Coach Huggins' philosophy where you never want to walk off the court and feel bad about your effort. I've always thought Coach Huggins' teams played harder effort-wise than anybody in the country. When you watch them on film, or when you see them from the outside, it's very interesting to see not only how hard they play, but how consistently all of his teams have played with that type of intensity and desire to win.
''Coach's guys always had a better nose for the ball and always a propensity to get that rebound or make that big play at the end in those close ones.''
They'll blend those wits as the Mountaineers prepare to enter the Big 12.
''I've always learned something from 'Coach,' Everhart said. ''The great thing about it is it kinda happens every day because I now have the opportunity to work with him.''