WVU News & Notes: Assistant Coach, Coliseum Visitors, Fish Fry
It appears that Neal Brown has added another new assistant coach to his staff.
Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports was the first to report that Blake Seiler was leaving Kansas State and will become a linebacker coach at West Virginia.
A native of Goddard, Kansas, Seiler was a defensive end at K-State from 2003-06 and then joined Bill Snyder’s Wildcat coaching staff in 2009. He spent his first two years as a quality control coach, two more as a graduate assistant and then in 2013 he was promoted to a full-time coaching job, overseeing KSU’s defensive ends. He moved to linebacker coach in 2017 and then also took over as defensive coordinator in 2018.
With Snyder’s retirement at the end of last season, K-State hired Chris Klieman from North Dakota State to replace Snyder. Seiler seemingly was one of only two members of Snyder’s staff who would be retained by Kleiman, along with quarterback coach Collin Klein, but Seiler was not going to continue as defensive coordinator. Instead he was going to return to a position coaching job, working with the defensive ends.
Originally Seiler accepted that opportunity to remain at his alma mater, but now it appears he is going join Brown’s staff at West Virginia. This will be Seiler’s first coaching job outside of Kansas State. WVU has not yet officially announced his hiring, though.
Seiler was a state champion wrestler who spent his first year of college as a member of the Oklahoma State wrestling team. He then transferred to Kansas State in 2003 where he turned his attention to football. He began his Wildcat career as a walk-on, but finished as a starting defensive end and team captain in 2006. After graduating from K-State with a mechanical engineering degree, the Big 12 academic all-conference selection worked as an engineer for the Cessna Aircraft Company in Wichita for a couple of years, but then was talked into coaching by Snyder in 2009.
Brown has officially announced the hiring of seven of his 10 assistant coaches; Seiler would be eight. Dan Gerberry, who was WVU’s tight ends coach last year, appears to be a strong candidate to be the lone assistant from Dana Holgorsen’s staff to be retained by Brown, but that decision has not yet definitely made, according to sources. Also former Mountaineer wide receiver Ryan Nehlen, who was an offensive analyst for WVU’s football team last year, reportedly is a candidate to be Brown’s wide receiver coach. West Virginia’s new head coach has reportedly interviewed a few candidates for that job, including Nehlen, who is the grandson of former WVU head coach Don Nehlen.
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One of the most influential people in college athletics today was in attendance at Saturday’s West Virginia-Oklahoma basketball game.
Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens, who is also the chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee, was at the game, along with his wife Jane and their two sons, Cooper and Tanner.
A native of Morgantown who holds both his undergraduate and master’s degrees from WVU (1991 & ’93), Rob was in his hometown this past week for the funeral of his mother, Darlene Hardesty, who passed away last Sunday after a lengthy battle with cancer.
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Mullens wasn’t the only WVU alum in attendance at Saturday’s game. It was Lettermen’s Weekend on the campus of West Virginia University, and past members of the Mountaineer basketball team were honored at halftime of WVU’s game with Oklahoma.
Among the special honorees were members of West Virginia’s 1959 National Championship runners-up. Four of those – Jerry West, Willie Akers, Jay Jacobs and Howie Schertzinger – participated in the halftime ceremony.
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There were also some younger visitors at Saturday’s basketball, as a pair of high school juniors from the state of West Virginia were in attendance.
One was David Early, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound wing from Logan High who is averaging over 20 points a game. Despite his girth, Early is skilled on the basketball court, where he can muscle inside but also is very dangerous from the outside. WVU has shown a great deal of interest in him the past couple of seasons, but so too have Marshall, Duquesne and Ohio University. Early had a game-high 25 points Thursday night in a showdown with Chapmanville (14-2), though Logan (15-2) fell 51-47.
Another junior from southern West Virginia, though in a different sport, also took in the Mountaineers’ win over Oklahoma at the WVU Coliseum. Sean Martin is a 6-foot-5, 235-pound two-way lineman for Bluefield High School. Though he helped lead the Beavers to the Class AA championship game this past fall also playing offensive tackle, colleges are drooling over his size and skill as a defensive end. He’s still only a junior, but he already has 18 Division I scholarship offers. Martin has long held one from WVU, and Neal Brown has obviously targeted the long, learn athlete from Bluefield as one of the Mountaineers’ key recruiting targets for the class of 2020.
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Friday night those ’59 Mountaineers also were the guests at the Bob Huggins Fish Fry, which raises money for the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment Fund, the Remember the Miners organization and the WVU Cancer Institute.
This year the first musket made by the late Marvin Wotring for the Mountaineer mascots was also auctioned off for a separate charity in Preston County, Holy Pursuit’s Dream Foundation, which provides hunting and fishing trips for children with life-threatening illnesses. That bid brought in an amazing $125,000.
Despite over six inches of snow that made roadways a mess around Morgantown on Friday, the Fish Fry still drew a huge crowd to the event center at Mylan Park.
“I went out there in the morning and there was snow everywhere and the roads were really horrible,” said Huggins. “I thought the snow was going to kill us. We sold 1,600 tickets, but I bet you there were less than 50 who didn’t show. It was packed, and people were great.
“Let’s be honest – Jerry draws a crowd. I laughed last year when they said, ‘You’re never going to be able to top this,’ because (John Calipari) and the (ESPN) Game Day guys were there,” Huggins recalled. “I started thinking, Jerry draws a crowd, so I called him and he agreed to come. I also thought it would be neat if we could get as many of his teammates here as we could. They were all great. It was a really good night.”
Since Bob and his family started the endowment fund shortly after their mother’s death in 2003, they have raised over $3.5 million for cancer research at WVU Medicine.