MORGANTOWN — Yesterday’s Hero was gathered in front of his television, just as so many of us were on that Thursday night, watching the final seconds tick off as West Virginia and Cincinnati were coming down the stretch, watching Today’s Hero do his thing.
Jarrod West felt like he’d been there before.
And he had.
“I felt kind of queasy,” West said as he thought back to the moment when Da’Sean Butler beat Cincinnati with a last-second field goal to avoid overtime and advance to the semifinals of the Big East Tournament.
West has trouble believing it was 12 years since that March 19 night in Utah.
He now has gone past age 30, is teaching and coaching in Clarksburg, has started his own family.
He has gone from Mountaineer idol to Mountaineer fan, just a face in the crowd when he goes to games with his child, a child who has over the past few years became a Da’Sean Butler fan.
“My son loves him to death,” West said.
But Jarrod West knows that before there was Da’Sean Butler there was Jarrod West walking in Butler’s sneakers.
If you are old enough, you cannot forget the moment, for it was one of the most intriguing in Mountaineer sports history.
WVU had a really good team under Gale Catlett, a team that at that moment was 24-8, a team with West and Brent Solheim and Damian Owens, a team that had advanced through the first round of the NCAA Tournament, beating John Chaney’s Temple team by 30 points.
But now you had Catlett against his old Cincinnati team, just as you had Bob Huggins facing his former Cincinnati team the other night, only that time Huggins was on the Cincinnati bench, a younger, even more brash coach with dreams of a title with a young star in Kenyon Martin.