West Virginia parts with interim coach Josh Eilert, seeks permanent replacement


West Virginia men’s basketball team spent this season playing under interim coach Josh Eilert. Now, the Mountaineers are ready to find a permanent replacement for Bob Huggins.

Mountaineers athletic director Wren Baker announced Wednesday that Eilert is out as coach and that a national search was underway. West Virginia went 9-23 and lost to Cincinnati in the first round of the Big 12 tournament on Tuesday.

“All of Mountaineer Nation owes a debt of gratitude to Coach Eilert for his leadership during a challenging season, as he and his staff faced all obstacles with class and professionalism,” Baker said in a statement released by the school. “We are now focused on our collective future, and I am excited about what comes next.”

The program was thrown into chaos last June after Huggins, who had coached the Mountaineers for 16 seasons, was arrested for DUI in Pittsburgh. That happened about a month after he made anti-gay slurs in a live interview on a Cincinnati radio show. A resignation letter from Huggins was sent out from the school, but Huggins contended it was “a false statement” and that he should have kept his job.

Baker promoted Eilert, who was an assistant coach and had previously served as director of basketball operations. The Mountaineers ended the season with six straight losses and dropped 10 of their final 11 games.

West Virginia is expected to move quickly in its search and could target such names as Florida Atlantic’s Dusty May, Appalachian State’s Dustin Kerns and James Madison’s Mark Byington.

(Photo of Josh Eilert: Jay Biggerstaff / Getty Images)

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