MORGANTOWN - There was no surprise Monday when West Virginia basketball Coach Bob Huggins hired a close friend as an assistant.
Still, there was a moment that stood out in conversation when former Duquesne Coach Ron Everhart spoke of his working relationship with Huggins, more than a month in the making.
"In all honesty," said the 50-year-old Everhart, "this is something that I've really wanted to do for a very long time and I'm not so sure if I wasn't a head coach right now somewhere that I wouldn't have given up that opportunity to take this one."
Everhart and Huggins have known one another for decades. Everhart was born in Fairmont and when he was growing up as a prep star at Fairmont Senior, he admired Huggins and the way he played for the Mountaineers.
One night, when a snowstorm stranded Everhart on the WVU campus, Huggins let Everhart stay on the floor of his dorm room.
They've since become competitors who battled each other for recruits and results, but also guys who vacation together and whose families have become close through the years.
Nevertheless, for a coach to say he would leave a head coaching position to work as an assistant might or might not be an embellishment.
"I messed it up one time before and I was really hoping it would work out better the second time," he said. "Earlier in my career, I considered it. I really was going to leave a head coaching position to go work with Coach Huggins, and maybe in a lot of ways I regret not doing that at that point in time."
It marks the second time in his coaching career that Everhart follows in the footsteps of a Calhoun. Everhart was the head coach at Northeastern at the time and he declined Huggins' offer to join his staff at the University of Cincinnati.
Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun was Northeastern's head coach from 1972-86, and Everhart took over the NU program in 2001.
At WVU, Everhart replaces Jerrod Calhoun, who last month was named the head coach at Fairmont State.
Everhart will make $175,000 on a one-year contract. Like contracts for other assistants, it can be renewed at the end of every season.
After Northeastern, Everhart moved on to Duquesne and went 0-4 against WVU, which dropped his record against his mentor to 0-5.
"Since then, absolutely we have talked about it," Everhart said.
"He'll do a great job recruiting," Huggins said. "He's got contacts in a lot of places that we don't have them. I think he's going to do a great job."