MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A decade after graduating from Morgantown High School, Craig Carey has reached an important benchmark in his young coaching career. Last month, Carey was elevated to the role of full-time assistant coach at West Virginia University.
“It is very unique. I know a lot of people don’t get opportunities like this. I am just trying to make the most of it,” Carey said.
Carey wrapped up a solid high school career in 2008, leading Morgantown to a spot in the Class AAA state semifinals and a North Central Athletic Conference title. His playing career would continue for one more season in 2010-2011. He appeared in three games as a walk-on for WVU’s NCAA tournament team.
“Being realistic, I knew you had to stop playing at some point. There was a time, especially getting out of college where my mind kind of shifted to what I would do as a coach. I am really into skill work and skill development. The last six years I have been studying that and I have been trying to implement that into the team.”
After wrapping up his studies for a master’s degree in sports management in 2015, Carey was installed as the video coordinator for the WVU women’s basketball team.
“A lot of the things I would come up with, we would use in the games. I would see a play, talk to the coaches and end up putting it in. A lot of people didn’t see it but I like to think I had a hand in a lot.”
“I didn’t expect it to be here but I knew I was going to be a coach somewhere. I have been preparing myself for this point. Day-to-day and in a game I have been getting used to talking and addressing the team, staying on top of it, trying to stay a play ahead and staying vocal.”
Carey has had the opportunity to play for and learn from a trio of accomplished head coaches. Carey’s high school coach, Tom Yester won 627 games in forty seasons. Bob Huggins is closing in on 900 career wins. And Craig’s father, Mike Carey has averaged nearly 22 wins per season in his 18-year tenure at WVU.
“Every assistant or head coach I have been around, you take things that you like and find your own style and your own voice. You take the best from everyone and implement it in the way you try to address players.”
Craig comes from a basketball family where his older brother Chris and younger sister Chelby also played at Morgantown High School. Mike has guided the WVU program to NCAA or WNIT postseason play in 13 consecutive seasons.
“Taking it from where it started to where it is now, there is a lot of respect around the country for the program. And if you don’t come in and work hard, it is what have you done for me lately. It pushes everyone to stay on top.”
The Mountaineers are preparing for an overseas trip to to Italy and Greece in August.
“With the ten extra practices we are allowed, it is good to get the girls comfortable with each other. And with the coaching changes we have had too, it is good to let the team get around us. New voices, new players, it is good for everyone to come together for these ten practices.”
“The sky is the limit. If we can stay healthy, we’ll have a little more numbers than we had before. We have the skill. We have Tynice (Martin) back. We have Kysre (Gondrezick) back, Kari (Niblack), Madison (Smith). We have a lot of pieces. It is just how we are going to jel, how these young kids are going to be able to step in, these junior college girls will acclimate quickly. It is wide open.”