The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

May 16, 2013

Crutchfield talks about his system, recruiting, focus

— MORGANTOWN — Jim Crutchfield, whose basketball program at West Liberty University is the nation’s best in NCAA Division II, insists that there’s really no secret to his team’s soaring success.

The Hilltoppers not only lead the collegiate basketball world in scoring with an incredible 103-point average but also are No. 1 in marginal victory at 25-plus.

“I try to stay as local as I can in recruiting,” the 57-year-old Clarksburg native said. Most of his players come from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

He does have a lot of college coaches ask what he’s doing. “I think that’s because we are doing something different,” he admitted.

While Crutchfield isn’t sure his system is a secret, West Liberty’s high-scoring results testify that his players’ efforts are paying off in huge dividends.

“But it’s probably a lot of things that we do are a little bit different,” he stated.

Asked if there’s an emphasis on scoring in his system, Crutchfield replied:

“No. I think it’s more an emphasis on aggressive play both offensively and defensively. Our scoring is just like a byproduct. It happens when we play that way.”

He noted some teams averaging 60, 70, 80 points per game try to slow down the tempo when playing WLU. “But our defensive pressure usually dictates the tempo of the game,” he said.

“We go with pressure defensively and put the other team into position (where) it’s hard to hold onto the ball very long.

“That’s the kind of key I think that our tempo is good (because of) pressure defense.”

Crutchfield isn’t a coach, I’m told, who thrives on “pouring it on” with glee. But he readily admits that some of his wins certainly were one-sided.

So that does give him opportunities to empty his bench and use every player, and he likes that. It’s good for experience sake, at least.

Crutchfield, whose team posted a 34-2 record and ranked No. 1 in Division II this past year at season’s end, is looking ahead to his 10th year at West Liberty. His career basketball coaching record of 241-45 is the nation’s best, percentage wise, among all college basketball coaches at any level.

He has won numerous honors and awards, including a third consecutive time winner of the West Virginia Coach of the Year in any sport. He also was named by Basketball Times as the national Division II basketball Coach of the Year twice in the past three years.

There have been a few other coaching jobs which caught his interest. But he has decided he’s very happy and likes to stay where he is.

“I enjoy where I’m working,” he said. “I like the players. I like the people I am working with.

“I’m happy my family is in Wheeling. So I really haven’t focused on moving out to another job. I’m just happy where I’m at, and I don’t want to change that.”

Text Only
College Sports
  • Herd lands ‘Other D’Antoni’

    Danny D’Antoni hasn’t been a West Virginia resident in nearly 40 years. That will soon change, and his family could not be happier.
    D’Antoni will be introduced as Marshall’s new head men’s basketball coach at a press conference at 2 p.m. today. Athletic director Mike Hamrick announced the hiring via Twitter Thursday afternoon.

    April 24, 2014

  • WVU baseball begins series with Kansas State in Morgantown today

    The West Virginia University baseball team will host Kansas State in a key Big 12 Conference series this weekend at Hawley Field. Game one begins at 6 p.m. today. Game two begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and the first pitch for game three is set for noon on Sunday.

    April 24, 2014

  • Hamrick deserves praise for pursuit of D’Antoni

    Sometimes gambles don’t pay off, but some risks simply have to be taken.

    April 23, 2014

  • WVU post-spring depth chart filled with few surprises

    Although the contents brought about as much of a surprise as a over the hill balloon at a 40th birthday party, there were a few interesting nuggets in the post-spring depth chart that West Virginia University sent out Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • Clutch hitting leads WVU over Marshall

    Junior catcher Cam O’Brien finished  a home run away from the cycle and scored three runs as the WVU baseball team defeated Marshall, 10-3, on Wednesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 23, 2014

  • Gardner improving with broken neck

    Joedy Gardner, a well-known former West Virginia basketball player and coach, is much improved after having broken his neck in Phoenix, Ariz., several months ago.

    April 23, 2014

  • 042314 trickett Mountaineers have benefited from incoming football transfers

    Recruiting in college football seems to get more and more attention every season. Websites like and stalk the high school sidelines and blow up potential recruits’ cell phones in search of the latest information. But there’s one important aspect that often goes ignored — transfers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU baseball pounds Terps

    The offense had 16 hits and sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out six as the West Virginia University baseball team routed Maryland 14-2 on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 22, 2014

  • Crutchfield not interested in Division I job

    You would think Jim Crutchfield would be a great candidate for a head basketball coach’s job at an NCAA Division I university.
    But the Clarksburg native keeps saying that he’s perfectly content in that role at West Liberty, a Division II powerhouse. His 10-year record there is an absolutely amazing 272-49. Significantly, 10 of those defeats came in his first year at the West Liberty helm.

    April 22, 2014

  • Stepping up: Kelly racking up wins for Lions

    Sundays have become red-letter days for Chris Kelly.

    April 22, 2014