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WVU Basketball Making Mark on WVIAC

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MORGANTOWN -

West Virginia basketball is getting a Mountaineer makeover.

Over the past year, former WVU players and coaches have gotten jobs with West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference programs to begin or continue their careers as basketball coaches.

A year ago, graduating WVU guard Joe Mazzulla joined former Mountaineer center Rob Summers with the Glenville State program. In April, assistant coach Jarrod Calhoun left WVU to head down I-79 and take over as Fairmont State's head coach.

Just a week ago, 3-point specialist Patrick Beilein got his first head-coaching gig at West Virginia Wesleyan.

Bob Huggins knows each of these people not only as former players or coaches, but as friends. He did not coach Summers or Beilein, but is very familiar with each of them, much like he is with Calhoun and Mazzulla.

When Beilein got his new job, Huggins was not the slightest bit surprised, noting genetics first, but then quickly pointing out the manner in which the former WVU coach's son began his career.

"John [Beilein, Pat's father] does a great job with the X and O part of the game, obviously a great job with his offense and I think Pat is smart that once he got done playing to coach with John for a couple of years and then really smart enough to get out and get away and go see how things are done in different ways," says Huggins.

After two years as a graduate assistant with his father at Michigan, Beilein became an assistant at Dartmouth before serving as director of basketball operations at Bradley.

"I think that's important to have a different perspective and you see that things can be done more than one way and then you're able to adapt and become who you are," says Huggins. "I'm sure Pat will do that. Pat's got a lot of confidence."

The imprint West Virginia University basketball will have in the WVIAC this coming season makes sense to Huggins, who believes there is not a more perfect place to begin a career or a more perfect candidate for those jobs.

"Well why wouldn't you do that? I said to the people at Fairmont that Jarrod Calhoun is going to know more people in this state of influence than anybody you could ever hire because he was with us," says Huggins. "We did the practice facility, we were around people and I think Pat will be the same way. Pat is a very recognizable name. When you walk in and say, ‘I'm Coach Beilein,' people understand."

Huggins recalls his own experience as a young assistant for Eldon Miller's Ohio State teams when he left West Virginia. Miller told him back then that he wanted a coach who could walk into any high school in Ohio and people would recognize his name and know who he was.

For Huggins, that worked because of his father's name. He believes that same notion will come true for Beilein, Calhoun, Mazzulla and Summers because of the support WVU has around the state.

"I think our guys can do the same thing in this state," says Huggins. "I think our guys, because of the unbelievable attention that they get and because of the unbelievable passion that people in this state have for Mountaineer basketball, I think they're all very marketable."

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