The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

February 8, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN: Strong bond brings Hyman WVU’s way

MORGANTOWN — This is the nice side of recruiting, although you probably won’t hear that at East Carolina, for they wound up losing out on a recruit they thought they had, a recruit that could have been a huge plus for their program.

But the nice side of recruiting really isn’t how schools and football teams benefit, for they are too impersonal, too bottom line, their objectives being tied more to selling jerseys and tickets than fulfilling lives.

No, this is the story of a coach and a player and a bond that grew between them. It is of one caring for the other, and of how done on the highest of scales recruiting doesn’t have to be the dirty con job that it all too often seems to be.

The is the story of Brian Mitchell, WVU’s newest assistant coach, and one of its new recruits, Dontrill Hyman. It is the story of a relationship that grew from recruiter and recruit to something warmer and stronger.

Mitchell is a one-time college star, a four-year NFL player, a defensive coordinator at East Carolina, which is where he and young Dontrill Hyman came to know each other. He worked Hyman as a recruiter does, got him to commit to ECU, then when he did not qualify to get in he placed him at Hinds Community College in Mississippi rather than throwing him on a junk pile of recruits that did not work out.

He stuck with him and when the coach lost his job at East Carolina and came to West Virginia, Hyman came with him.

“He said there was something about Coach Mitchell. ‘I want him to be part of what I become four or five years down the road,’” Mitchell was saying Wednesday after the commitments all had come in.

See, recruiting is only partly about the school and the football program, about the location or even the courses it offers.

“It’s all about relationships,” Mitchell said. “We started that relationship three years ago.”

That was when he began recruiting him, when he won his confidence and got him to Hinds.

“I was able to put him in that situation where he could grow academically, socially and athletically,” Mitchell said. “Those guys at Hinds did a great job of protecting ECU for that long.”

It was a two-way street. The coaches at Hinds appreciated that Mitchell had brought them this player who would contribute so much to their success, so they did what they could to see that he stayed true to Mitchell. They didn’t push him toward other colleges.

They didn’t put him on any lists, auction him off to the highest bidder.

But when Mitchell left for West Virginia, he wasn’t about to turn his back on Hyman and Hyman wasn’t going to turn his back on him.

Mitchell got right to work at WVU as soon as he took the job.

“That first day Dana said ‘Stay in your office and get to know your players.’ Well, the next day I was on the road seeing a player, then Al-Rasheed, then Marcell Lazar (two other players he would help lure to WVU). I hit the ground running. I didn’t have time to just sit and take into account all the things I needed to get done as far as moving my family here, learning the scheme, learning the combination to my locker.”

And with Mitchell no longer at East Carolina, Hyman opened up his recruiting again.

“When that happened, I said ‘Why not West Virginia?’ He was more than welcome to come up on a visit and saw a need here for a defensive end. That relationship he and I have took another step and opened a new chapter,” Mitchell said.

The two would be reunited at a bigger, better program than either had imagined when their relationship began.

   “He’s a bright young man. He saw the situation here, a need for a defensive end, a chance to affect this conference and this team right away,” Mitchell explained. “He will have someone showing him the way. Come to think of it, we’ll be showing each other the way because I’m new here, too.”

It’s an interesting situation, for one day you are selling a kid on your virtues, the school’s virtues, then he signs and now you are coach and player … a totally different relationship.

   “I think you have to have a level of professionalism with the kid. You’re not buddy-buddy with him all the time. There’s some things with Dontrill that he and I understand he has to get done,” Mitchell said. “Now I’m Uncle Mitch, not Coach Mitch, but I will be Coach Mitch. He’ll come to me for advice and I’ll treat him like other kids. My policy has always been to never tell him things that aren’t going to benefit him.”

Hyman is a big catch for WVU.

“He’s 6-foot, 4½, 265 pounds … I mean, broad shoulders and he’s eaten junior college food. He’s worked out in a junior college weight room. He’s living in a junior college dorm,” Mitchell said. “The environment here is more conducive to helping him develop his mind, his body and his spirit and I think the kid will flourish here in every area.”

And, in the end, this is about the kid, isn’t it?

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Trickett best option as a leader

    In the end, West Virginia University’s decision to place the mantle of starting quarterback upon veteran Clint Trickett was less about quarterback than it was about leadership.
    This is not to say that Trickett lacks the talent to succeed as quarterback in coach Dana Holgorsen’s system.

    July 6, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Celebrate every day like it’s the Fourth of July

    Happy birthday, America.
    Here is my gift to you:
    “Nighttime in Morgantown, West Virginia, on the campus of West Virginia University. Halloween weekend and the goblin riding in on a broom is wearing a sport coat, a sweater and red tie. His graying hair is parted neatly on the left side and topping off a prominent nose and persistent frown is a pair of eye glasses, the trademark of one of the most successful football coaches — Joe Paterno.

    July 4, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Getting WVU ‘right first’ is top priority

    As one can imagine, with Alabama awaiting West Virginia University when the 2014 football season emerges from its summer-long womb, much of the talk has centered around the Crimson Tide, including the coaches beginning to force-feed the summer scouting report to the Mountaineers.

    July 3, 2014

  • The Greenbrier owner Justice focuses on boosting state’s image

    In sports, the word “love” belongs to tennis.
    “Fifteen-love, Mr. McEnroe,” the scorekeeper will say.
    But tennis does not have exclusive rights to the word, for Jim Justice has brought it into the world of golf.
    You might know the name Jim Justice. In fact, if you are from West Virginia, you might even know this giant of a man yourself, for he gets around.

    June 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Taking charge key objective for Trickett

    Everything was seeming perfect in Clint Trickett’s life.
    Just a day or so earlier, his coach, Dana Holgorsen, had named him West Virginia University’s starting quarterback entering the 2014 season.

    June 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: It’s up to WVU coaches to get swagger back

    If you can remember back to that night in Miami, Florida, when West Virginia took Clemson apart, 70-33, in the Orange Bowl, and to the 5-0 start on the next season, you remember the swagger the Mountaineers possessed at the time.
    Why not?

    June 24, 2014

  • Shelly Poe-Do Nehlen halloffame.jpg Fragale a staple in world of WVU sports

    The year was 1988, a memorable year.
    • Kirk Gibson, barely able to walk, hits a limp-off home run off Dennis Eckersley to win Game 1 of a Los Angeles Dodgers’ sweep of the World Series.
    • Willie Stargell was elected to the Hall of Fame.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Will Harris find what he’s looking for?

    Something was missing back there a couple of months ago when Eron Harris announced he was going to leave West Virginia University’s basketball team, the one major college that had given him a chance when it appeared he might be overlooked, a chance he took advantage of to average 17 points a game as a sophomore.

    June 22, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Leap of faith’ landed Nesbit on right track

    This was the moment Stormy Nesbit had spent her life waiting for.
    She was a West Virginia senior, the greatest triple jumper in the school’s history, and now it was her last track meet.

    June 21, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Spurs help sell concept of teamwork

    Over the years the NBA has been what amounts to almost a destructive force upon college basketball and its coaches.
    It has pirated away the college game’s best players after they have played only a season, so much so that it was an utter shock last year when Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart actually came back for a second season.

    June 18, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads