The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

December 29, 2012

Bolen breaks record; MSU’s dominant era comes to an end

Mountain State’s loss to Oklahoma Baptist would become the last basketball game ever played for Mountain State University.

The school lost its accreditation in the summer, which, in turn, killed its athletic programs.

Bob Bolen was notified via a phone call on July 23 that he would be one of many MSU employees who were being terminated.

Bolen was in North Carolina helping one of his players find a new school.

Along with being the head coach of MSU’s men’s basketball program, he was also the athletic director, overseeing men’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s cross country, and cheerleading.

“It was rough,” Bolen admitted. “It couldn’t have happened at a worse time. We had 10 returning players (from a NAIA Final Four team) and had four really great recruits coming in. We had winning another national championship this season on our mind. It couldn’t have been more disappointing.

“MSU meant so much to me personally and to the entire community.”

The former MSU players and recruits have landed elsewhere and are thriving, said Bolen.

“I’m proud that every (former MSU) player signed somewhere and got scholarships,” Bolen said. “I’m on the computer following them every night, and they’re all doing real well. They still call me and check in, too.”

But the termination of the program was still disappointing news on many levels, especially since Bolen had just set a new record for most wins by a college men’s basketball coach in the state of West Virginia, surpassing legendary Fairmont State coach Joe Retton.

On Thursday, Jan. 6, Bob Bolen led his Cougars to an 84-67 victory over Talladega, netting the historic career win No. 479.

Bolen would take his career record to 489-125. Mountain State advanced to the NAIA Fab Four, where it lost to Oklahoma Baptist 77-56.

“It was a great honor to break the record,” Bolen said. “But it was really a team record. We’ve had great assistant coaches and we’ve been able to recruit some great players. But looking back on it now, I’m very proud.”

Bolen finished his career at MSU with a .865 winning percentage in 12 seasons — the highest of any NCAA Division I, Division II or NAIA school.

On top of his wins record, Bolen was the 2004 NAIA National Coach of the Year and the West Virginia AP College Coach of the Year. He was named the NABC National Coach of the Year in 2010.  Bolen led the Cougars to 14 straight NAIA National Tournament appearances between 1999-2012, winning the championship in 2004.

n n n

The University of Charleston will officially take over the former MSU campus on Jan. 1. UC-Beckley officials are reportedly looking into the application process to restore collegiate athletics in Beckley through the NAIA. A decision is expected some time in 2013.

“The University of Charleston has a great academic reputation,” Bolen said. “Hopefully it won’t be long before it’s built back up in Beckley, because the (MSU) problems didn’t have anything to do with athletics.”

1
Text Only
Latest Sports
  • cato Word is out on Marshall's Cato

    Rakeem Cato is easily the face of Marshall football, carrying the Thundering Herd into a season heaped with expectations.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • bush Bush making Saints look good

    For his first four seasons, Rafael Bush was simply looking to land on a roster — any roster.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Practice, not temps, heats up for Saints
    The temperatures may have only been in the low 70s Tuesday afternoon at the Saints new practice facility at The Greenbrier, but now a third of the way into the 15 practices, it’s clear that the heat has turned up with playing time and positions on the line.
     

    July 30, 2014

  • Bowles has a support system
    Corey Bowles knows a thing or two about being successful at sports.

    July 30, 2014

  • Terre Haute hands Miners 2-1 loss in 11 innings

    Ryan Sabo singled home Clayton Smithson in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Rex to the win and put the West Virginia Miners’ postseason hopes in serious jeopardy.

    July 30, 2014

  • WVU’s Smallwood waives preliminary hearing

    West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood, arrested on a felony charge of witness intimidation in a first-degree murder case, waived his preliminary hearing Monday, his case now being moved to Superior Court, where more serious crimes are argued, according to The News Journal.

    July 29, 2014

  • Steelers LB Spence caps lengthy comeback

    The whistle blew and Sean Spence sprinted forward, each cathartic step distancing the linebacker from the horrific knee injury that threatened to end his NFL career before it even really began.

    July 29, 2014

  • After years of drama, Redskins enjoy a calm camp

    The Washington Redskins are the team that gave us Michael Westbrook punching Stephen Davis, Dan Snyder landing his helicopter during practices, Albert Haynesworth turning the conditioning test into a sideshow and Mike Shanahan using the podium to remind everyone that he was Robert Griffin III's boss.

    July 29, 2014

  • ingram Run game a point of emphasis for Saints as camp continues

    The New Orleans Saints did a lot of things right in 2013.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • gibson Gibson gets a different perspective at Greenbrier

    Tony Gibson is no stranger to a football sideline.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Saints Training Camp