The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

June 14, 2013

Bolen named assistant coach at East Tennessee State

Former MSU mentor has most college hoops wins by a W.Va. coach

BECKLEY — When Mountain State University lost its general accreditation last year, head basketball coach Bob Bolen was among many that were left without a job.

However, as expected, he landed on his feet.

The lifelong Beckley resident and former head coach at MSU has officially been named an assistant coach at East Tennessee State. The move, which had been rumored for weeks, was announced by the school Friday morning.

“I’m really excited about it,” Bolen said in a phone interview. “East Tennessee State has a beautiful campus, and Johnson City is a great area to live.”

Also hired as an assistant was Thomas Carr.

“Most importantly, both Bob and Thomas have coached their respective teams at a high level,” ETSU coach Murry Bartow said in a statement. “They are good people and have the ability to communicate well with their players, which is incredibly important. When it comes to recruiting, they both have the right personalities for the job. I wanted guys who were wired to wake up in the morning and think about recruiting. They both fit that perfectly.”

Bartow is 189-135 in 10 seasons and has developed the basketball program into a perennial contender. Despite finishing 2013 with a 10-22 record, ETSU has played in four of the last 11 NCAA Tournaments.

The Bucs won the Atlantic Sun tournament in 2009 and 2010.

Bolen and Bartow had been familiar through coaching conventions and meeting at the Final Four.

“But our relationship really started when this job opened up and I contacted him to let him know I was interested,” Bolen said.

Bartow probably jumped at the chance to bring Bolen aboard.

On Jan. 26, 2012, MSU’s 84-67 win over Talladega (Ala.) was career win No. 479 for Bolen, giving him the most wins ever by a West Virginia college coach. It broke the record previously held by Joe Retton at Fairmont State.

Bolen got the basketball program restarted at the school in 1994, when it was called The College of West Virginia. The Cougars went 17-16 in his first season and followed that up with a 14-18 record in 1995-96.

That was the only losing season Bolen ever had as head coach. In fact, his teams never won fewer than 22 games over the next 16 seasons.

He took MSU to 14 straight NAIA national tournaments, advancing to the national championship game four times. The 2004 team finished 38-1 and defeated Concordia (Calif.) for the school’s only national championship.

The Cougars lost to Oklahoma Baptist in the 2012 NAIA semifinals and finished with a 26-7 record.

Bolen, 489-123 as head coach, was looking for a job through no fault of his own. MSU lost its accreditation last June and the athletic program was cut soon after.

University of Charleston took over the campus on Jan. 1 and later announced it will field junior varsity athletic teams.

The last year has been bittersweet for Bolen, who missed coaching but also got more time to simply be dad to his and wife Lisa‘s three kids, Katie, Jaysen and Andrew.

“I did (miss coaching) but I treasure the time I got to spend with my family,” he said. “I don’t have any hobbies without basketball around.”

Bolen missed his son Jaysen’s 12th birthday on Thursday, but that time will be compensated for this weekend.

“The last eight and a half months have been so enjoyable,” Bolen said. “I got to see my son‘s basketball games and my daughter‘s volleyball games.”

Except for the time he spent as a player at Bluefield State, Bolen has never called any place other than Beckley home. But he’s excited about the opportunity that awaits in Johnson City.

“Johnson City is similar to Beckley. It’s a lot bigger, but it’s similar,” Bolen said. “It’s only 2 1/2 hours from Beckley and the kids will still get to spend time with their grandparents, and that is important.”

East Tennessee announced Wednesday that it will rejoin the Southern Conference in 2014.

- E-mail:


Text Only
Latest Sports
  • Still in playoff hunt, Miners host Paints tonight

    The West Virginia Miners are running out of time, but the race for a playoff berth still isn’t over.


    August 2, 2014

  • mccown McCown thankful for his chance, no matter the role

    Luke McCown would still love to be a full-time starter in the NFL, something he hasn’t really experienced in a nine-year NFL career. 

    August 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • ingram Saints pumped for first real scrimmage

    With a scrimmage set for this morning, Friday’s New Orleans Saints football practice at the new Greenbrier training camp site focused heavily on red zone and special teams work, trying to get all the players on the same page for the first true scrimmage of camp. 

    August 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Richmond rallies to defeat Miners 7-3

    West Virginia’s hopes of a three-peat  title in the Prospect League are in serious jeopardy after a 7-3 loss to the Richmond RiverRats  Friday night.

    August 2, 2014

  • trickett WVU’s Trickett focused on staying healthy

    With his Twitter account no longer active — West Virginia University head coach Dana Holgorsen forced him to disable the heavily followed account after some controversial Tweets during the offseason — Mountaineer starting quarterback Clint Trickett is free to focus on one thing: doing whatever it takes to stay healthy for the 2014 season.


    August 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clark makes voice heard in return to Redskins

    Ryan Clark has been a showman, entertainer, spokesman, pontificator, critic, leader, mentor and fashionista — and that's just from one week of Washington Redskins training camp.

    August 1, 2014

  • Steelers WR Antonio Brown aims for repeat of 2013
    Antonio Brown rolled up to the dorms at Saint Vincent College last week in a Mercedes conversion van. It's fitting in a way. Five years into a blossoming career, the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver is playing the role of dad — OK, maybe slightly older brother — to a group long on talent but short on experience.

    August 1, 2014

  • Steelers sign K Suisham through 2018 season
    The Pittsburgh Steelers have given kicker Shaun Suisham a four-year contract extension that runs through the 2018 season.

    August 1, 2014

  • RH 080114saints1.jpg Intensity reaches new level at Saints training camp

    Following their first day off from training camp on Wednesday, the New Orleans Saints reported to their new $30 million practice facility at The Greenbrier Thursday full of energy and with an edge that hadn’t been seen through the first five practices.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holliday.jpg Backup quarterback battle one to watch at Marshall

    Marshall has a pretty decent quarterback in Rakeem Cato, a Heisman Trophy candidate who is expected to lead the Thundering Herd to its most successful season in more than a decade.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

Saints Training Camp