EDITORIAL: Welcome to W.Va., Coach DeVries

Mar. 29—Thank you, Josh Eilert, for getting us through a tough season West Virginia University men's basketball has officially closed one chapter and is beginning a new one. Early this week, WVU Athletics announced Darian DeVries will be taking over as head coach.

DeVries comes to us from Drake University in Iowa, where he spent the last six years. Athletic Director Wren Baker said he liked DeVries not just for his winning records, but for his longevity: DeVries spent 17 years as an assistant coach at Creighton and six years as head coach at Drake. Wherever DeVries goes, he puts down roots, and we are certainly a state that values putting down roots (even from transplants). And we find it a good sign that DeVries seems to be in it for the long-haul. The men's basketball program saw a lot of upheaval this past year ; it will benefit greatly from stability and certainty.

Which is not a reflection of (now former) interim head coach Josh Eilert. Eilert stepped up during a period of chaos and controversy. He lost half the team overnight to transfers and had little time to rebuild the bench before the season started. Then he had to contend with injuries and eligibility issues. But Eilert handled every single challenge with grace and persevered despite the growing mountain of obstacles. The win-loss record for this year does not accurately reflect the amazing hard work of the entire team—coaching staff and players alike—to even be able to play. Eilert deserves all the thanks Mountaineer Nation can give him, and we wish him and his family all the best on the next phase of their journey, wherever it may take them.

That's one thing DeVries will learn quickly (and hopefully not the hard way): Mountaineer fans are a special breed. They are passionate and loud, and they show up. When they're pleased, they heap praises upon the athletes and coaches. When they're displeased, they make it known (for better or worse). They appreciate a kinder, more supportive team culture—as long as the team pulls off a winning season.

But outside of what happens on the field or court, Mountaineer Nation embraces coaches and players as members of the community. DeVries and his family had better brace themselves for all the strangers who will come up to them just to say "welcome " or "hello " (and perhaps the occasional request for an autograph).

In that spirit, we'd like to welcome DeVries and his son, Tucker, to the Mountaineers and the whole DeVries family to West Virginia. May these country roads make you feel at home.