West Virginia basketball hires Darian DeVries to be new coach after 6 years at Drake

Mar 24, 2024, 8:14 PM

Darian DeVries...

Head coach Darian DeVries of the Drake Bulldogs looks on against the Washington State Cougars during the second half in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at CHI Health Center on March 21, 2024 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

West Virginia tapped Drake basketball coach Darian DeVries on Sunday to move the Mountaineers past one of the ugliest years in school history.

DeVries signed a five-year contract, athletic director Wren Baker said. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. DeVries’ hiring came three days after Drake bowed out of the NCAA Tournament with a first-round loss to Washington State.

“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,” Baker said. “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.”

The 48-year-old DeVries is a two-time Missouri Valley Conference coach of the year. He compiled a 150-55 record in six seasons and took Drake to March Madness three times. Drake won at least 25 games in four straight seasons. The Bulldogs tied a school record for wins this season, finishing 28-7.

Drake’s 30-1 home record over the past two seasons tied FAU for the best in Division I.

DeVries replaces interim Josh Eilert, who took over after the messy exit of Hall of Fame coach Bob Huggins last summer. With a multitude of player defections, injuries and other distractions, the Mountaineers went 9-23 and finished last in the Big 12. It was a school record for losses and the fewest wins since the 2001-02 team went 8-20 in Gale Catlett’s final season.

“I’m honored to lead this historic program which has an outstanding tradition and passionate fanbase,” DeVries said in the 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.”

Baker wanted a coach with a track record of success in D-I. West Virginia, which last reached the Final Four in 2010, hasn’t had much of that lately with three last-place finishes in the Big 12 since 2019 and two NCAA Tournament berths in the last six seasons. West Virginia has never won a Big 12 regular season or tournament title.

Baker also wanted his new coach to have an appreciation for both the university and the culture and history of a rural state that has no pro sports franchises.

“We have heard so many great things about West Virginia and its people, and we can’t wait to get there,” DeVries said.

DeVries’ son, Tucker, a junior, was Drake’s top scorer this season at 21.6 points per game. DeVries’ brother is former Detroit Lions defensive end Jared DeVries.

Before coming to Drake, DeVries was an assistant at Creighton for 17 years. The Bluejays made 12 NCAA Tournament appearances in that span.

DeVries played for four seasons as a guard under Eldon Miller at Northern Iowa.

Drake announced Sunday night it will start an immediate search for its next coach.

“The litmus test for any employee that departs a place of employment is, ‘Did they leave it better than they found it?’” Drake athletic director Brian Hardin said in a statement. “It is easy to say that Darian DeVries has left our men’s basketball program and our athletics department in incredible positions thanks to his six years at Drake.

“Darian led the Drake men’s basketball team to new heights on the court while establishing an elite culture off the court. He was an incredible mentor to the men in our men’s basketball program for the last six years and a wonderful representative of our department. We are grateful to Darian for his leadership and wish him the best in his next journey.”

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