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June 23, 2014

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

(Continued)

MORGANTOWN — --

WVU hasn’t yet become “The Cradle of Basketball Coaches,” but the sport does have a number of former players and coaches who are making their presence felt.

You can begin, of course, with John Beilein, who has returned Michigan to its glory days, and his former assistant Jeff Neubauer, who has taken Eastern Kentucky to the NCAAs five times in 10 years.

Another Beilein assistant has now started his way up the coaching ladder, that being Mike Maker, who worked for Beilein in 2005-07, and recently was named head coach at Marist after spending the last three years at Williams College in Massachusetts.

Then there was former Beilein player Rob Summers, a 7-foot center, who took on the big challenge of turning around the fortunes at Urbana University in Ohio.

Summers takes over a Division II team in the Mountain East Conference that was 0-27 a year ago after having coached as an assistant at Glenville State before spending a year as director of basketball operations at James Madison in Virginia.

And finally there was guard Darris Nichols, who spanned the Beilein and Bob Huggins eras, who has moved from Wofford College, where he was an assistant, to the top assistant’s job at Louisiana Tech as he continues to push toward reaching his goal of becoming a head coach.

Then you can toss in Patrick Beilein, the coach’s son and former guard, at West Virginia Wesleyan, who has his former teammate Joe Mazzulla coaching against him as an assistant at Fairmont State, and you can see the coaching tree is blooming.

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Most people assume that WVU triple jump All-American Stormy Nesbit’s first name is a nickname that she probably earned through a tempestuous personality.

Not true.

“When I was a child, I was very, very sick with asthma and I was born prematurely,” she explained when asked about it. “I wasn’t given a name at first, but my parents decided on Stormy, which meant that ‘rough times are now, but better times are ahead.’ That’s been my progression through life and where I’m going. I wasn’t supposed to be able to do sports. They weren’t sure if I was going to be able to make it through. Even though I have asthma, I can do anything that a normal, healthy person can do.”

In fact, she is anything but stormy.

“My personality is quite different than my name is. I’m actually very calm on game days. I don’t say much,” she said.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

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