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West Virginia parts ways with men's interim head coach Josh Eilert, plans to resume national search

Eilert took over following Bob Huggins' resignation last June

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 12: Head coach Josh Eilert of the West Virginia Mountaineers reacts during the second half against the Cincinnati Bearcats of the Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Center on March 12, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 12: Head coach Josh Eilert of the West Virginia Mountaineers reacts during the second half against the Cincinnati Bearcats of the Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Center on March 12, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images) (Jay Biggerstaff via Getty Images)

West Virginia has begun its search for a new men's basketball head coach, the university announced on Wednesday.

The Mountaineers are moving on from interim head coach Josh Eilert, who led them to a 9-23 overall record and dead last in the Big 12 this past season. There were big wins against then-No. 3 Kansas and then-No. 25 Texas in the span of seven days in January, but also home defeats to Monmouth and Radford.

The record was the first time the Mountaineers men's team won fewer than 10 games in a season since they went 8-20 in 2001-02.

"As I shared last summer following our initial coaching transition, we decided to wait until the conclusion of the 2023-24 season before embarking on a full national search," said university vice president and athletic director Wren Baker in a statement. "Upon our return to Morgantown from the Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship, I met with Coach Eilert, the coaching staff and the team to let them know we are moving forward with our search plans. All of Mountaineer Nation owes a debt of gratitude to Coach Eilert for his leadership during a challenging season, as he and his staff faced all obstacles with class and professionalism."

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Eilert took on the job over six days after former head coach Bob Huggins announced his resignation amid a tumultuous offseason. Huggins uttered an anti-gay slur during a radio interview in May. The university responded by suspending Huggins and reducing his salary by $1 million. On June 16, Huggins was arrested and charged with DUI. He announced his resignation the following day.

Baker said that the school tried and failed to conduct a national search for a new coach after announcing Eilert's elevation from assistant to interim head coach.

The Mountaineers dealt with injury issues, player suspensions, departures and eligibility problems, and finished the season by losing 12 of their final 14 games.

"We are now focused on our collective future, and I am excited about what comes next," Baker said. "We compete in the best men's basketball conference in America, we have incredible fans and supporters, we have a history of success and we have a commitment to winning. I am confident we will engage a strong pool of candidates and identify the right leader for our program. As I shared with our student-athletes, we will move deliberately but as swiftly as we can in the days ahead."