Men's Basketball, WVU Sports

NOTEBOOK: DerMarr Johnson makes coaching debut with WVU

DerMarr Johnson made his debut with the WVU men’s basketball team Wednesday, during the Mountaineers’ 74-65 victory against No. 14 TCU inside the Coliseum.

Johnson, a former player under WVU head coach Bob Huggins at Cincinnati during the 1999-2000 season, was hired on Monday, and replaces the void on the coaching staff created by the firing of former associate head coach Larry Harrison last week.

Johnson was officially certified to coach and recruit by the NCAA on Tuesday and was on the floor helping WVU guards  warm-up prior to the start of the game.

It is Johnson’s first coaching experience. After a 16-year pro career, both in the NBA and overseas, he served as director of player development for the Cincinnati men’s basketball program since May 2021.

“He’s an ex-professional basketball player,” said WVU point guard Kedrian Johnson, who finished with 20 points. “We can learn a lot from him and I feel like he’ll be good for this program and the guards in particular. I’m looking forward to working with him.”

As for Harrison, a source told The Dominion Post his representatives have began negotiations for a separation agreement with the school that would replace his contractual buyout.

Harrison was set to earn $318,270 this season, the second year of a two-season deal that was to expire on June 30.

According to his contract, Harrison’s buyout would have paid him what was remaining on his yearly salary, along with any incentives earned that had not yet been paid.

Close contact with the governor

Huggins was honored in Charleston on Tuesday by the state legislature and Gov. Jim Justice for his induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame.

Not long after Huggins’ visit, Justice announced he had tested positive for COVID-19, and was isolating in his home.

“Everyone that the Governor has been in close contact with over the past few days is being notified,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

According to WVU sports information director Bryan Messerly, Huggins was with Justice for no longer than five minutes and has displayed no symptoms.

According to the state’s latest COVID-19 guidelines, Huggins, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, would only have to be tested or isolate himself if he began to show symptoms of the virus.

News and notes

 TCU head coach Jamie Dixon, who spent 13 seasons as the head coach at Pitt, is now 16-16 all-time coaching against WVU. He was 12-7 at Pitt and is 4-9 at TCU.

 TCU is now 0-11 all-time at the Coliseum and remains the only Big 12 school not to win in Morgantown.

 WVU is now 107 of 169 from the foul line (63%) since the start of Big 12 play this season. The Mountaineers went 20 of 26 against TCU.

 Since joining the Big 12 in 2012, WVU’s league record is 91-94 in regular-season play.

 WVU ended an 11-game losing streak against AP Top 25 opponents.

 When No. 7 Texas visits the Coliseum on Saturday, it will be just the second home game this season for the Mountaineers that wasn’t televised exclusively on ESPN+. Saturday’s game is scheduled for ESPN.

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