West Virginia hiring Drake head coach Darian DeVries

Darian DeVries has led Drake to the NCAA tournament three times in the last four years

Darian DeVries has led Drake to the NCAA tournament three times in the last four years
Darian DeVries has led Drake to the NCAA tournament three times in the last four years. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

After Bob Huggins’ tumultuous exit last year, West Virginia finally has a permanent head coach.

The Mountaineers struck a five-year deal to bring in Drake head coach Darian DeVries on Sunday afternoon, the program announced.

"Coach DeVries is a phenomenal basketball coach and an even better person and possesses all the qualities we desired in the next leader of our men's basketball program," West Virginia athletic director Wren Baker said in a statement. "His teams play hard and smart and are efficient on both ends of the floor. He has proven to be a strong recruiter and developer of players but even more importantly, a leader with integrity who develops character in the young men he coaches."

DeVries' son, Tucker DeVries, is expected to transfer to West Virginia with his father, too, according to the Field of 68's Jeff Goodman. Tucker averaged 21.6 points and 6.7 rebounds with the Bulldogs last season, both of which were career highs.

DeVries will replace Josh Eilert at West Virginia next fall. Eilert was promoted to the team’s interim head coach after Huggins’ resignation last spring following a string of incidents that included using an anti-gay slur on a radio interview and a DUI arrest.

West Virginia then decided to wait until after this season to resume its national search for a new head coach, which led to keeping Eilert in charge of the program in the meantime. That, though, didn’t go well.

The Mountaineers went just 9-23 this season and lost 10 of their last 11 games to close out the year. They dealt with several significant injuries, suspension, eligibility issues and departures after Huggins’ resignation, which made Eilert’s job much more difficult. So after they fell to Cincinnati in the Big 12 tournament earlier this month, the school opted to part ways with him and resume its national search for a new head coach.

DeVries, who played at Northern Iowa, spent the last six seasons at Drake in what was his first head coaching job. He’s led the Bulldogs to the NCAA tournament three times in the last four years, and they’ve won back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference tournament titles. The Bulldogs went 28-7 this season — their fourth straight year with at least 25 wins — but they fell to Washington State in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday. DeVries compiled a 150-55 overall record in Des Moines.

It won’t be an easy task to revive West Virginia after a solid 16-year run under Huggins, but they at least now have a permanent head coach. DeVries, who built Drake into a very solid mid-major program in recent years, will now attempt to do the same thing in the Big 12.

"I'm honored to lead this historic program which has an outstanding tradition and passionate fanbase," DeVries said in a statement. "Gamedays in the WVU Coliseum are legendary, and the incredible support for Mountaineer Basketball is known nationwide. I look forward to building on the success of the program."