WHEELING - Former NBA player and Duke University basketball star Chris Duhon will be the guest speaker as the Wheeling YMCA honors West Liberty University men's basketball coach Jim Crutchfield as its eighth Light of the Valley award recipient Aug. 13.
Duhon, who played nine seasons for the Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers after his standout career at Duke, was hired by Marshall University as an assistant men's basketball coach in May. A four-year starter at Duke, Duhon helped lead the Blue Devils to a national championship in 2001 and three Atlantic Coast Conference championships. He is the university's all-time leader in minutes played, second all time in both assists and wins, and was a finalist for both the Naismith and Wooden awards in 2004.
"I think it's a perfect fit to have someone with Chris' basketball IQ and background speak since we're honoring Jim Crutchfield," said Adam Shinsky, program director and incoming executive director for the Wheeling YMCA. "He really understands the importance of this fundraiser."
Crutchfield will receive the award, named the Dr. Lee Jones Patron of Youth award, during the annual Light of the Valley luncheon at noon Aug. 13 at Wheeling Park's White Palace. The award is named for a longtime former YMCA leader, and is given annually to someone who demonstrates a deep dedication to improving the quality of life for Ohio Valley youth.
Crutchfield began his coaching career at WLU in 2004 as a men's basketball assistant and head coach of the tennis team, following 10 years at Cameron High School. He remains the winningest coach in Cameron history.
At WLU, Crutchfield set the school single-season record for victories with a 34-2 mark last winter and leads all active NCAA men's basketball coaches in winning percentage with a 272-49 career mark. He guided WLU to a berth in the NCAA Division II national championship game, where the Hilltoppers fell to Central Missouri in a back-and-forth contest.
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His resume includes four consecutive Atlantic Region championships, nine consecutive 20-win seasons and three straight 30-win campaigns.
He also has won the Furfari Award, given to the state's top college coach each year as voted on by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association, four straight years.
"He put West Liberty basketball on the map, and it's been great for our area," Shinsky said of Crutchfield.
A native of Clarksburg, W.Va., Crutchfield lives in Wheeling with his wife, Diana, and their daughters, Caroline and Allison.