Calhoun leaves West Virginia to be head coach at Fairmont State
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 00:04
West Virginia assistant coach Jerrod Calhoun was introduced as the new head coach of the Fairmont State men’s basketball team Tuesday afternoon.
It will be Calhoun’s first head coaching job after spending the last five seasons at WVU. He spent four years as the Mountaineers’ director of basketball operations before moving up to assistant coach this season.
"This is the chance of a lifetime to finally be able to run my own program," Calhoun said in his press conference. "When I was 12 years old, I dreamed about being a head coach, and it has finally come true."
His college coaching career started after he transferred to Cincinnati after playing at Cleveland State for two seasons where he was a student assistant under current WVU head coach Bob Huggins.
From there, he went on to coach for three seasons at Huggins’ first head coaching destination, Walsh College, where Calhoun helped lead the Cavaliers to the 2005 NAIA national championship and trips to the Elite Eight and Sweet 16 in the two seasons before leaving to join the staff at West Virginia.
"I’ve been trained by the best," Calhoun said. "I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without Huggs. He taught me everything I know defensively, and he taught me everything I know about life."
Huggins was excited to see Calhoun land his first head coaching job. As another coach who got his first head coaching job at a young age, he knows how Calhoun is feeling and knows he’s eager to get out there and get started at Fairmont as soon as he can.
"Jerrod’s worked really hard to prepare for this," Huggins said. "He wants responsibility, he puts a lot of effort into it. He’s really tried to expand his contacts and the people that he knows from a recruiting standpoint and a business standpoint."
It should come as no surprise that a coach who has studied under Huggins for so long would have the same approach as the veteran head coach.
"I want to win a national championship, but I’m not a guy that’s going to make a lot of promises," Calhoun said. "We’ll be the hardest working team in America. They have a saying at West Virginia that ‘nobody will out-tough us.’ We’re going to hit guys in the mouth."
Fairmont State offered Calhoun the job last Friday and
after a few days of negotiating, he accepted the offer Monday.
"This was like a recruiting process," said Fairmont State Athletic Director Rusty Elliott. "There were a lot of people we looked at, a lot of people we kept in touch with and we had to narrow it down to the one we think can do the best job."
As far as Huggins’ role in the process, he didn’t do much.
Calhoun knew that whenever he needed him for help, he’d be there to do what he could.
"I just answered whatever questions he had. If he asked me something, I told him," Huggins said. "I tried to fill him in as best I could on whatever it was that he wanted to know from my perspective and what I’ve experienced over the years."
As far as Calhoun’s replacement on West Virginia’s staff, Huggins said there’s no timeline set as of now for when he would like to see the spot filled.
"We’ve got two weekends we can go out and recruit, and I’m not going to be able to hire anybody before then," he said.