Since 2014, James Long has made a home away from home in Morgantown, West Virgina. He spent four years as a member of the men’s basketball team. Then two more as a member of Bob Huggins’ staff.
On Monday, Long was in Beckley and announced as the new head men’s basketball coach at WVU Tech.
“We’re gonna work every day to continue to make this thing great. Most importantly we’re going to represent the university in a first-class manner on and off the floor. Thank you. Let’s go Golden Bears.”
That’s how he closed his first address to the Golden Bear faithful. Long admitted he’s not one for public speaking, but it was a little easier knowing that every person in the room is rooting for him.
“Going up here and talking and seeing all the support — it’s been unbelievable. I can’t even put it to words,” he said.
WVU Tech players, faculty and staff packed into the Learning Commons, as did his mentor, Bob Huggins, and much of the Mountaineer program.
“I’m telling you you’ve got a great one. You’ve got an absolute great one. A better person than he is a basketball coach — and always will be a better person,” Huggins said.
For Long, a Charleston native, the type of support he received today and throughout the hiring process has made him realize that “One WVU” is more than just a slogan.
“It just means so much, man,” he admitted. “I just don’t know where else a high-major program comes down and takes three hours out of their day when they could be in the weight room and practice to support one of their own.”