West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins always takes care of his own. Whether it is a player or coach, Huggins is a lifelong friend.
In his ten years with the WVU basketball team, Huggins has seen his players grow up and become even greater players, men and coaches. One of the guys who has been with Huggins since before he even came to West Virginia is Jerrod Calhoun.
Jerrod Calhoun is now the head basketball coach at Youngstown State. He was on Huggins’ staff at Cincinnati and later served with Huggins for four years with the WVU basketball team. Calhoun has risen up the coaching ranks in recent years having developed Fairmont State into one of the most competitive teams in Division II.
Now, he gets a chance to help a struggling YSU team that plays in Division I, in the mid-major Horizon League. YSU has played teams like UCLA and Ohio State and now the Penguins will play a team located just more than two hours south, West Virginia.
This is a chance for Bob Huggins to see one of his guys coach in action. It will give Calhoun’s team an opportunity to play up in competition. The news was first delivered by John Vargo of the Warren Tribune Chronicle on Tuesday night as YSU demolished Division III Franciscan in the home opener in Youngstown.
The past couple of days have taken Calhoun back to his days with Huggins. YSU had a rude awakening over the weekend losing to Kent State, 111-78. Calhoun spoke out in the Trib about that after his team put up 134 points against Franciscan.
"“I was so angry that my team gave up so many points,” Calhoun said. “I’m a Bob Huggins disciple. We pride ourselves on getting stops. We pride ourselves on toughness. We didn’t see that the other night in the second half.”"
In the Youngstown Vindicator, Calhoun expressed his excitement for playing against the WVU basketball team. What is particularly intriguing about this series is that two games will be played in Morgantown, rightfully so, but Youngstown will actually host a game. In 2019, YSU will play the Mountaineers in the Downtown Youngstown Covelli Centre.
"“We’re ecstatic, we just got the contract today. We’re going to play West Virgina here in 2019 at the Covelli Centre,” Calhoun said. “It’s the biggest college basketball game in Youngstown involving the Penguins. I’m really happy that coach Huggins agreed to do that.”"
Calhoun is happy, but he shouldn’t be surprised. Bob Huggins is one of the most respected men in college basketball. He has earned that reputation because of his fiery demeanor on the court, but he also brings a caring and compassion attitude to everybody around him.
There is a lot of work to go in this season for both YSU and the WVU basketball team, but the series is something both teams will be looking forward to next season as well.