The Times West Virginian

Sports

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
Sports
  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.
    The Pete Dye course, ranked No. 45 on Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Courses and No. 9 on Golfweek’s ranking of Best Modern Courses, will host 160 of the best junior golfers from 40 states during the 72-hole stroke play event.

    July 30, 2014

  • Scott sees swift title contention for Lakers

    Byron Scott was a key component of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Showtime teams, a smooth shooting guard with sizzling competitive fire. He believes his purple-and-gold championship pedigree makes him the ideal coach to return the struggling 16-time champions to NBA contention.
    “This organization is all about championships, period,” Scott said Tuesday at his introductory news conference. “We don’t look at Western Conference finals, Western Conference championships. We look at (NBA) championships. And we know we have some work ahead of us, but I’m excited. ... I love challenges anyway, so this is going to be fun.”

    July 30, 2014

  • Opinion: People running NCAA may not be bumbling idiots

    Two down, one big one to go.
    And with it a growing realization that maybe the people running the NCAA aren’t the bumbling idiots everyone has been making them out to be.
    The NCAA’s agreement Tuesday to create a $70 million fund to diagnose concussions and brain injuries does more than just give some former and current athletes a bit of peace of mind — if no real money. It also extricates the organization from another serious threat to its existence, one that could have potentially bankrupted it if everyone who ever suffered a concussion playing college sports were somehow able to cash in.

    July 30, 2014

  • Steelers Camp Footbal_time2.jpg Bell looking for more decisive, productive season

    Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw.
    There were times during his rookie season when the Pittsburgh Steelers running back would place his hand on an offensive lineman’s back and wait patiently for the hole to open.
    Sometimes, one would appear. Sometimes it wouldn’t, mainly because whatever sliver of daylight existed had already been swallowed by darkness while Bell was still trying to read the blocks in front of him.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • smallwood-wendell(1)-2.jpg Charges against Smallwood dropped

     West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.
    It took him only three words to say what was on his mind: “God is Good.” Smallwood is now free to return to West Virginia and rejoin his Mountaineer teammates when they open camp for the 2014 season Thursday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • dungy0725 (1).jpg Rice, Dungy sideshows stain NFL

    The National Football League guards its reputation as aggressively as lineman are paid to protect a quarterback.
    So, as training camp opens around the country, how odd is it to see Commissioner Roger Goodell’s 32-team NFL empire battling bad headlines and stinging criticism from all quarters?
    Anyone want to talk to the new quarterback for his early assessment of playing with the best and biggest players in the land? That would be business as usual. Nothing has been routine about the early days of camp this season.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Post 17 #7 Post 2 #12 mw.JPG DeVaul wraps up final season as Post 17’s leader

    If you were to ask players on Fairmont American Legion Post 17’s roster who they looked up to, you’d find a familiar pattern.
    Sure, you may get some Andrew McCutchens or some Derek Jeters as replies. But if you want to find out the real answer, just look into the dugout.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.

    July 29, 2014

  • Charges against Smallwood dropped

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.

    July 29, 2014

  • Return to Mountain State exciting for new sports writer

    When I packed my belongings out of my Morgantown apartment in May, fresh with a journalism degree from West Virginia University, I thought I had ended a chapter of my life and closed the book on my experience inside the great Mountain State forever.
    It wasn’t until I received a phone call back in my hometown of Canton, Ohio, from the Times West Virginian that the idea of a return to the area became a possibility. The opportunity to begin my professional career in an area that I’ve become comfortable with for the past several years was too good to pass by.

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
Auto Racing Photos
Auto Racing Breaking News
Auto Racing Standings