MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – After two months of behind-the-scenes work, WVU interim head men’s basketball coach Josh Eilert has a small, but impactful, body of work to examine.
“Up to this point he’s handled everything as well as you could possibly ask and I’m proud of the work they’ve been able to do,” athletics director Wren Baker said.
Since taking over as interim head coach, Eilert has added forwards Akok Akok (UConn / Georgetown), Ofri Naveh (Israel), Quinn Slazinski (Iona), as well as guard Jeremiah Bembry (Florida State). He also retained guards Kerr Kriisa (Arizona) and Jose Perez after both entered the transfer portal.
“We tried to move as quickly as we could to make the best decisions we could,” Baker said. “Hopefully people understand the logic behind that. Maybe they agree, maybe they don’t. We’ve tried to give Coach Eilert everything that he needs to be successful. He’s made some changes and additions to his coaching staff. They’ve been able to make some additions to the roster.”
Not much has changed though on the status of the long-term head coaching position. Eilert has full autonomy until the season concludes. Then, Baker and his staff will conduct a search for the long-term solution.
Until then, Eilert is the man at the wheel.
“If somebody tries to call me about one of our jobs and the job isn’t open, I’ll very quickly cut that and say the job is not open,” Baker said. “I’m a little bit old school that way. I don’t think you talk to people or lobby or campaign for that job when that job isn’t open.”
Will he be considered for the long-term position? The answer is the same as it was in June, but if Eilert is making Baker’s job difficult in April, that means most parties involved had a successful season.
“My hope is [Eilert] does a get a job and is part of that search as the season goes long,” Baker said. “I evaluate every day. We will get many chances to do that. But in terms of a set criteria of, ‘here’s these boxes and if you check them all of the job is yours,’ I think there’s too many things in sports beyond your control.”
In terms of expectations, they are a little more abstract. Baker will evaluate coaching prospects based on their “integrity” and how they approach the position from an ethical standpoint.
“We are really looking at what kind of job did you do,” Baker said. “Controlling the things you can control, and helping young people grow and get better as people and as players. And did you pour into them? And are you the kind of coach that values the person above the player? All those things go in to the decision matrix.”