— Story by Taylor Kennedy
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Wheeling University Cardinals announced Monday afternoon that West Virginia University legend Da’Sean Butler joined head coach Chris Richardson’s staff.
Butler played for the Mountaineers from 2007-10. He left Morgantown as the winningest men’s basketball player in program history with 107 victories. Butler returned to the university city for the 2012-13 season as a graduate assistant under Bob Huggins.
“I feel like that grad school year made me realize what I wanted to do. I was so in love with playing, and I wanted to play. I did not feel like I got the opportunity to play. That was me going out and playing the rest of my career out overseas. After that moment, it kind of solidified that I wanted to become a coach after my years at WVU,” said Butler.
Butler was originally recruited to WVU by John Beilein. Butler spent one season with Beilein. He would spend the rest of his playing career with Huggins. Butler has always examined the game from a much bigger scale. He was a guest on Tuesday’s CityNet Statewide Sportsline.
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“Going to coaches clinics, and watching Bob Hurley and Jay Wright and all those guys, I did that in high school instead of just playing. I wanted to learn the game and be able to do what those guys did one day. That grad school year made it easier for me. I saw how much work as put in by Coach Huggins, Martin, Harrison, Everhart, and Hahn. Seeing the other side of the fence of a team made me realize what I wanted to do when I was finished playing,” said Butler.
Coaches have different philosophies and play styles. Bob Huggins is known for playing physical hard-nosed defense. John Beilien is known for his offensive mind. Butler is still trying to find that identity.
“I do not have my own style because I do not have my own team. I am an assistant helping out with my guy Chris Richardson who uses a little of John Beilien’s stuff and other things he has picked up over his coaching career. I am still learning. This is my official welcoming as a professional coach. I am all ears and building relationships with the players and staff,” said Butler.
Butler was on the bench for his first game with the Cardinals Monday evening against the University of Charleston. He was the first guy off the bench giving high-fives and words of encouragement heading into the huddle halfway on the court.
“I feel like giving the guys the advice they need depending what their situation may be. I have played under numerous coaches before,” said Butler. “Helping them see what could happen if they do things a certain way. That is my job as of right now. I do not necessarily have a style of play. It is more or less that I see something and I try my best to correct it. I try to make it an easy transition for the guys the best way I can.”
Butler could have gone anywhere because of his history as an excellent basketball player. His relationship with Coach Richardson made it an easier decision to join his staff at Wheeling University.
“First, I knew C. Rich. Second, why not? The situation arose when I was sending my information out to people. People got back to me and some did not get back to me. C. Rich got back to me, and I got the chance to sit down with him. I got a chance to meet his team. I got the call back, which was awesome. I was happy to start my career here in general. So many great coaches have started their career here. I am happy that I get to do the same,” said Butler.
Butler spent last season playing over in Israel for Hapoel Be’er Sheva. He averaged 15 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Butler spent the last seven years playing in five different countries.
Butler finished his Mountaineer career as the third all-time leader in points with 2,095. He helped lead WVU to its only Big East Tournament Championship in 2010, and the program’s second Final Four appearance.