West Virginia has found a temporary solution to replace departed men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins.
The school announced on Saturday it is elevating assistant men’s basketball coach Josh Eilert to head coach for the 2023-24 season. Athletic director Wren Baker said the timing of Huggins’ departure factored into elevating Eilert in an interim role.
“I spoke with knowledgeable basketball people around the country over the last week, including coaches, professional basketball executives and others of whom I trust to identify a strong group of candidates to speak with,” Baker said. “Ultimately what I came to recognize, was that conducting this search in late June was difficult for many of our candidates and also it put our talented student-athletes at a real disadvantage. With that said, we will conduct our national search at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season.”
Eilert has been on staff at WVU in various roles since 2007. He has been a full-time assistant since July of 2022 after serving in various roles in basketball operations and as video coordinator.
The move to Eilert came in the wake of West Virginia conducting a more traditional search during a difficult time to lure a high-end coach. This leaves WVU the opportunity to attempt to keep together its roster and attempt to run a search in a more traditional time frame following next season.
West Virginia has already lost three key players to the transfer portal — Tre Mitchell, Kerr Kriisa and Joe Toussaint entered the portal in the wake of Huggins’ arrest for suspicion of DUI and subsequent resignation. Mitchell averaged 11.7 points per game for the Mountaineers last season, Kriisa led the Pac-12 in assists while at Arizona and Toussaint scored 9.4 PPG for the Mountaineers.
WVU assembled one of the country’s top NCAA transfer portal classes last year, with help from the school’s collective, Country Roads Trust. The school aims to keep the vast majority of that class intact, as the players have a 30-day window to transfer in the wake of the coaching change.
Eilert worked for Huggins as a graduate assistant at Kansas State, where he also played.
WVU went 19-15 last season and lost to Maryland in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
“Josh Eilert is the right person to lead our men’s basketball program next season,” Baker added. “He has been an important part of our success, and he has displayed great integrity, work ethic and dedication. He has been involved in all facets of our program during his time on the basketball staff, and he has earned this opportunity to coach our team on an interim basis for the 2023-24 season.”