Local Sports, University

Top Hawk: Joe Schmidle wins coach of the year honors

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — University boys’ basketball coach Joe Schmidle was named the 2018-19 West Virginia Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year by the WVSSAC and the National Federation of High Schools (NHFS) on Wednesday.

The award is yet another bestowed upon Schmidle, who was also named West Virginia Coach of the Year by USA Today in April, after a historic campaign that saw the Hawks finish 24-4 and win their first-ever Class AAA state championship.

Schmidle is now also eligible to be named the 2018-19 NFHS national boys‘ basketball coach of the year.

“I don’t know if it has sunk in yet,” Schmidle said. “It’s an honor, and it’s very humbling, but to me it’s more of a tribute to the kids who have played for me the past couple of years and who have worked to improve this team. Without them, I wouldn’t be in this position.”

“It means a lot to see it happen,” UHS guard Kaden Metheny added. “I’m extremely happy for him. He puts the time and effort into this and he’s a player’s coach. No one deserves it more.”

Schmidle credits much of his success to his players who have been along for the ride, and believes their competitive drive and passion for the sport has helped propel the program to new heights.

“I think a lot of it is their eagerness to compete against the best teams out there. We had the opportunity to get invited to some big tournaments, and this team was all about it,” Schmidle said. “They weren’t worried about how many games they were going to win. They wanted to be challenged at the highest level. When you have a team willing to work the way this one does, and put the time in that they do, it makes my job easy.”

As part of the Hawks’ schedule last season, UHS competed against Cox Mill (N.C.), which featured Duke recruit Wendell Moore Jr., as well as teams from Mississippi and South Carolina.

UHS also participated in the Big Atlantic showcase in Beckley.

“We always say, to be the best we have to beat the best,” Metheny said. “Coach Schmidle is willing to go and play one of the toughest schedules in the state, and that prepares us for those tough games and big situations. He believes in us, and that brings up our confidence level tremendously.”

For Schmidle, the biggest challenge as a coach is often finding new and unique ways to push and develop his players, especially as the program continues to rise to the upper echelon of Class AAA.

“I think a lot of it has been thinking outside the box and trying to find ways to make them better than they currently are,” he said. “We try to find ways to push them in ways they haven’t been before. For example, during this past summer, going to D.C. and Philadelphia to play in NCAA live events.”

“He’s always pushing us to be better, to work harder, to play against better teams and competition, and get into the weight room. He always brings the best out in us no question, and I’ve been blessed to have him as a coach,” Metheny added. “He’s believed in me since Day One and I’ve believed in him. We all love him, and we think he should be named coach of the year every year. Our success is a testament to who he is as a coach.”

Joe Schmidle’s coaching record

2014-15: 15-8

2015-16: 16-9

2016-17: 24-3 (Class AAA semifinals)

2017-18: 25-2 (Class AAA semifinals)

2018-19: 24-4 (Class AAA state championship)