By Cam Huffman
Mountain State University basketball coach and athletic director Bob Bolen may be losing his job and his entire athletic program, but he’s been as busy as ever the last few weeks, since learning of the disappointing fate.
Bolen has spent the last two weeks working feverishly to make sure his basketball players have somewhere to play — and a place to get an education — this year, and he said Wednesday that the task is finally complete.
“It’s a huge relief,” said Bolen, who led MSU to an NAIA national championship and 14 straight NAIA National Tournaments from 1999 to 2012. “To get it all done in 10 days, or whatever it was, was very time consuming. But I think we found great situations for all of our players, and we owed that to them.”
—n David Nyarsuk — The 7-foot-1 center will be headed to the University of Cincinnati to play Division I basketball in the Big East. Nyarsuk averaged 9.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game last season.
— Isaiah Hill — The 6-foot-8 forward will join the Division II Fairmont State University program next season. The Aylett, Va., product averaged 13.6 points and 9.9 rebounds as a junior last season.
— Quinton Thomas — As a freshman forward last year, the 6-foot-6 Greenville, S.C., native averaged 7.7 points and 6.3 boards per game. He’ll join the Francis Marion University program in Florence, S.C., competing in Division II’s Peach Belt Conference.
— Mantas Drungys — The 6-foot-4 Lithuanian averaged 6.1 points and 1.6 assists per game last year as a sophomore guard. He’ll be joining the Georgetown College program in Georgetown, Ky. The Tigers lost to Mountain State in the NAIA Division I quarterfinals last season.
— Victor Ogunnuyi — A 6-foot-3 guard, the London, England native will have one year of eligibility left, and he’ll also be playing at Georgetown College. Ogunnuyi averaged 1.3 points and 0.3 assists per game in 12 contests last year.
— Bruce Komakech — A native of Vancouver, the 6-foot-8 forward averaged 2.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season. He’ll be headed to the University of Rio Grande in Rio Grande, Ohio. The RedStorm compete on the NAIA level in the Mid-South Conference.
— Dino Muslic — As a junior forward last year, the 6-foot-9 Bosnia native averaged 1.8 points and 2.8 rebounds. He’ll attend Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Ky. The Tigers also compete in the NAIA’s Mid-South Conference.
— Sean Scott — A talented guard out of the Chicago area, who was already enrolled in summer school at MSU, will also join the Campbellsville University program.
— Latterance Carter — Also on campus for summer school, Carter will enroll at Life University in Marietta, Ga.
— Duce Briscoe and Montavious Marc — Both of these recruits have scholarship offers on the table and are deciding which school to attend.
—n Noah Cottrill— The former West Virginia high school star and WVU recruit never actually signed with the Cougars, but he did give MSU a verbal commitment. Bolen said Cottrill has a number of Division II and NAIA offers from which to choose and is still in the process of making a decision
— Tony Baldocchi — A talented shooter out of California, Baldocchi had not officially enrolled at MSU, but Bolen is still working to find him a place to play.
Bolen said he was thrilled that he was able to find all of his players full scholarships, although he admitted it was difficult to give players away that he had worked so hard to get on campus.
“I’m still in the phase of being disappointed,” he said. “I thought we had the best team in the country.”
Working to help his players has kept Bolen busy since learning he would no longer have a job at MSU, but he said now it will be time to take a look at the possibilities for his future.
One option could be staying right where he is.
University of Charleston announced last week that it was going to be taking control of the former Mountain State University, creating the University of Charleston-Beckley.
Bolen said he’d had some “early discussions” with Bren Stevens, the athletic director at the University of Charleston, about the possibility of fielding athletic teams at the new school in Raleigh County.
Although that’s still a long way from becoming a reality, Bolen said it could end up being an option.
“I’m excited about the possibilities,” he said. “Things look a lot better than they did a couple weeks ago.”