MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As West Virginia basketball players enter offseason workouts, the program is compiling candidates to replace longtime strength and conditioning coach Andy Kettler.

Kettler has left to join Louisville’s staff, reuniting with head coach Chris Mack, a former classmate at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati.

A source said Kettler “really struggled with the decision” after working under Bob Huggins the past 10 seasons at West Virginia. But the lengthy relationship with Mack, combined with moving closer to home was enticing. Kettler’s wife Kimbraly also has family in the Cincinnati area, less than two hours away.

Louisville, undergoing a top-to-bottom rebuild in the shadow of NCAA sanctions and Rick Pitino’s firing, has yet to announce Kettler’s hiring.

The Mountaineers reached the NCAA tournament eight times during Kettler’s decade on campus, making a trip to the Final Four and five Sweet 16 appearances. His conditioning work with players proved vital the past four years when “Press Virginia” emerged in all its fast-paced fury.

West Virginia should find a pool of qualified replacements and hopes to move quickly. Strength and conditioning coaches are team-builders who are allowed more offseason interaction with players than assistants and head coaches.

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