The Times West Virginian

Fairmont State Sports

November 21, 2013

FSU basketball coaches discuss life lessons

FAIRMONT — Fairmont State University’s two head basketball coaches discussed the sport as it relates to life’s problems Wednesday before members of the Kiwanis Club of Fairmont and several from Fairmont’s other civic clubs.

FSU women’s coach Steve McDonald and men’s coach Jerrod Calhoun were guests of the Kiwanis Club for its weekly meeting. Ray Richardson served as emcee for the program.

McDonald didn’t talk about any of his team’s talents but chose to talk about how basketball relates to life.

“We talk to our players a lot about staying on an even keel in their lives,” he said. “Don’t get too emotionally high when you’re up by 20 points and pull together and stick together when you’re down 10.”

He spoke of some personal life experiences when he thought that “life couldn’t get any better than this. The whole world was just fantastic for me at that time.”

But then life dealt him some cruel blows over the next few months. Both his father and grandmother died within a three-week period; his new car needed some expensive repairs; the West Virginia Wesleyan (where he was coaching at the time) squad was marooned at 1 o’clock in the morning returning home from Buffalo when the team bus broke down.

“I sat at the dinner table the next day, which was Thanksgiving, and said, ‘It can’t get any worse then this.’ So in that short period of time I went from thinking it can’t get any better to it can’t get any worse.”

“But there was no reason to be too high or too low as the team went on a 17-game winning streak after the holiday was over,” he recounted.

McDonald said “that’s something I try to relate to our kids (with personal stories). You don’t embellish a personal story because that’s just the way it is.

“We also use the phrase ‘make the next best play’ after someone makes a mistake in practice or a game. We use that phrase in practice and games. And then we relate that to life. As all of you know, life is a series of problems and hurdles to overcome. And the people that react to those problems well are the successful, happy people.

“The last thing we tell our players is the simple phrase ‘care about others more than you care about yourselves.’ And that is so difficult to get across ... to anyone, not just young people!”

He said that “we talk about life a lot. Winning isn’t what we’re here for. We’re here to take these kids from Point A to Point B in life. If you concentrate on that as a coach, you will win. Your kids will play for you.”

Calhoun said, “We’re excited about our team this year. We were very fortunate to win some close games. We’re off to a 3-0 start. We beat a Winston Salem State team on the road that was ranked 15th in the country.”

He said he worked for a future Hall of Fame coach in West Virginia University’s Bob Huggins and played under a Hall of Fame coach in Rollie Massimino (at Cleveland State).

“So I was trained very well by those two guys and learned a lot of things beyond basketball — about life. And we’re trying to implement that in our program.”

He said people thought he was crazy leaving the state school like West Virginia University but he said, “That’s the best move in my life. The community support here is just tremendous.”

“I work for an unbelievable president in Dr. (Maria) Rose,” Calhoun continued. “I think she has a great balance between academics and also athletics. I think she feels that athletics is a big part of our university; it’s not the major part of it but it’s a significant piece of the puzzle.”

He said last year the Falcons sent two teams to the NCAA Tournament.

“Our goal is to win a national title,” Calhoun said. “That doesn’t happen at a lot of places — having a women’s team that’s very good and a men’s team that’s very good. So hopefully this year we can get two or three thousand fans at every game. We play here Saturday against West Virginia Wesleyan.

“Our program is about winning. In life you have to win. We’re constantly teaching our guys life’s lessons.”

“This year we have a chance to be very good,” he said.

Email John Veasey at

Text Only
Fairmont State Sports
  • FSU golfer wins MEC Player of the Year

    Fairmont State’s Jess Ferrell shot a two-day score of 136 (-6) to win the MEC Southern and take home Mountain East Player of the Year honors.

    April 9, 2014

  • FSU softball splits with Notre Dame

    Fairmont State rallied in game two to earn the split in its MEC doubleheader against Notre Dame College on Saturday afternoon at Duvall-Rosier Field.
    After five scoreless innings in game two, NDC took a 2-0 lead after a home run by Kelsey Coleman. In the bottom half of the inning, Ericka Aversa hit a sacrifice fly to score Joni Tyree from third.

    April 6, 2014

  • FSU team.MW.jpg Lady Falcons have high expectations for next season

    Despite having to replace a trio of talented starters, including All-America point guard Kaitlin Snyder, from a team that finished 23-10, won the final West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship and made an appearance in the NCAA Division II National Tournament, Fairmont State University’s 2013-14 Lady Falcons came close to heading back to the so-called “Big Dance” this year.

    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Calhoun bench.jpg Future bright for FSU after challenging season

    If anything, the 2013-14 season served as an incredible learning tool for Fairmont State University’s men’s basketball team.

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • fsu team - TS.jpg FSU men, women miss NCAA Tournament

    For a season that had its ups and downs for Fairmont State, both the men’s and women’s teams just missed the cut for the NCAA Tournament.

    March 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • FSU’s rally falls short against ’Toppers

    Twenty minutes into Saturday night’s Mountain East Conference semifinal-round showdown between top-seeded and No. 3 ranked West Liberty and fourth-seeded Fairmont State here at the Charleston Civic Center the Falcons looked down and out.

    March 9, 2014

  • Cooper leads FSU past Bobcats, 70-62

    Brendan Cooper played liked a first-team all-league selection even though he strangely wasn't, and Chase Morgan did what he does best in the game's final 1:18 – hit shots.
    The result was a 70-62 Fairmont State victory over fifth-seeded West Virginia Wesleyan Friday evening in the quarterfinals of the Mountain East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.

    March 8, 2014

  • West Liberty, Glenville, Charleston advance to MEC semi-final

    Charleston out-lasted Wheeling Jesuit, 91-85, in overtime in the first quarterfinal of the Mountain East Conference Tournament presented by GoMart on Friday afternoon.
    Andre Harris, who finished with a game-high 22 points, picked up a steal and then converted a traditional three-point play to put Wheeling Jesuit up 76-73 with :21 seconds left.

    March 8, 2014

  • Cold-shooting Lady Falcons fall to State

    In its biggest game of the season to date Fairmont State suffered its worst performance.
    Fifth-seeded FSU shot a season-low 29.5 percent from the field (18-of-61), including a dismal 8-of-33 showing (24.2 percent) in the second half and as a result fell, 71-59, to fourth-seeded West Virginia State in the quarterfinals of the first Mountain East Conference Women's Basketball Tournament here Thursday night at the Charleston Civic Center.

    March 7, 2014

  • Falcons hope for tournament run

    Since day one, making another post-season run has been at the top of Fairmont State coach Jerrod Calhoun’s mind.
    Last season the Falcons went three-for-four in the WVIAC Tournament, falling to West Liberty in the tournament’s final game. The strong run, though, propelled the Falcons into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed.

    March 7, 2014

Featured Ads
FSU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads