West Liberty and veteran head coach Jim Crutchfield have made plenty of national noise over the last few years out of the WVIAC. But heading into 2012, there will be a couple of up-and-coming head coaches in the league trying to make their mark on a similar level.
The hires of former Mountaineer assistant coach Jerrod Calhoun at Fairmont State and former Mountaineer basketball standout Patrick Beilein at West Virginia Wesleyan will do a lot for those programs inside and outside the state in terms of recognition. Both coaches are names that have connections, which should draw a wider interest from recruits in the area on the division II level.
Beilein, of course, was just hired on this past week and will be officially introduced at a press conference on June 5th. The son of former Mountaineer head coach John Beilein is anxious to make his way back to the Mountain State where it all began for him with the Mountaineers.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be coming back to West Virginia and especially as a head coach at West Virginia Wesleyan,” he said. “I don’t think there was a better opportunity for me.”
Click below for a MetroNews Statewide Sportsline interview with Beilein:
And it certainly will be a great opportunity for Beilein. The Bobcats finished this past season with an overall 22-9 record as head coach Jim Boone left for Delta State at the end of the year.
It created a job opening that Beilein had to pursue.
“I just threw out a feeler as to which way they might be hiring and I just turned in my resume, my cover letter and did it the old-fashioned way,” Beilein said. “I got a call back for a phone interview and eventually made it to campus. I felt that the interview went well and got the call that I had been chosen. I couldn’t stop smiling after that call came through.”
His father, of course, got his head coaching start at an even lower level with Erie Community College before making stops at Nazareth, LeMoyne, Canisius, Richmond, West Virginia and Michigan. West Virginia Wesleyan, meanwhile, seems like the perfect stop for the younger Beilein to get his start.
“Growing up in a coaching family, I feel that’s prepared me well,” Beilein said. “I’ve seen how my dad has done it at the lowest level and built his way up through division I, doing it with integrity and recruiting the right guys. So I’ve seen all of that and I’m ready for this opportunity, it’s going to be great.
“(My dad) told me division II, division III, whatever it is, you have the head coaching title to your name and that just holds a lot more as you go up through the ranks in trying to get to that ultimate goal as a head coach at the highest level in division I,” he continued.
You get the sense from Beilein that he’s destined for eventual success like his father. He comes across as a very well spoken, bright individual full of confidence – all keys to finding that ultimate success.
“This is a step that I need to take and it’s going to be great,” Beilein said. “I’ll probably fail a lot and fall down of my face, but I’ll pick myself back up and keep learning everyday.”
And with that, WVIAC basketball appears to be heading on its way up going into a new era. Beilein, however, will still always be a Mountaineer as well.
“What the state did for me, allowing my family to come there, and what we accomplished – those memories I will never forget,” Beilein said. “That holds a special place in my heart. That made this job even more special, so I went at it really hard with the hopes of getting it and I did.”