Shake-up Under Way Within WVU’s Women’s Staff
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–There is a shake up going on within West Virginia’s women’s basketball staff, as three veteran employees under head coach Mike Carey have each recently left the program.
Assistant coaches Chester Nichols and Lester Rowe, as well as long-time director of operations Pat Biondo, are no longer at WVU.
The departures of Nichols and Biondo had been previously noted, but the revelation by Carey that Rowe’s contract will not be renewed is more recent.
A former star player for the Mountaineer men’s basketball team, Rowe scored 1,524 points and hauled down 787 rebounds in his four-year career (1982-85) for Gale Catlett’s squad. After playing professional basketball overseas for eight years, Rowe returned to Morgantown and eventually became a member of Catlett’s coaching staff for the West Virginia men’s team, working with that squad from 1997-2002. He was hired by Carey as an assistant on the women’s side in 2011 and spent a total of eight seasons in that position.
The Buffalo, New York, native was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
A replacement for Rowe has not yet been announced.
“We wish him the best of luck in his new position,” said Carey of Rowe. “I expect our staff to be completed at the end of the month.”
Nichols was a member of Carey’s staff for a total of 11 seasons, as he was at West Virginia in two different stints (2003-09 and 2014-19).
Carey hired Nichols’ replacement last month, bringing in Bett Shelby, who previously had assistant coaching stops at North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia Tech.
A native of Clarence, New York, Biondo had been a member of the WVU women’s staff for 10 years, most recently serving as the director of basketball ops. Before that he was a manager for John Beilein’s Mountaineer men’s team from 2004-07. Biondo is being replaced by Meghan Bielich, who comes to West Virginia after stints at Pitt and Texas Tech.
All three former members of the Mountaineer women’s staff apparently have landed new jobs already. Biondo is going to work in the private sector for a West Virginia-based business. Nichols is reportedly going to join the women’s coaching staff at Wichita State, though the Shockers haven’t announced that hiring yet. And Rowe is said to be headed for a position with the Northern Kentucky women’s program, though NKU also has not officially announced his hiring at this point.
Carey has served as West Virginia’s head women’s coach for the past 18 seasons with a career record of 393-205. His squad this past season was 22-11.