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Beilein to be Inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame

Former WVU head coach John Beilein is set to be inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

On Wednesday, the College Basketball Hall of Fame announced former West Virginia University men's basketball coach John Beilein will be inducted as part of the 2022 Hall of Fame class. 

Feb 27, 2007; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach John Beilein congratulates his team on a play in the first half against the Pittsburgh Panthers at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

Feb 27, 2007; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach John Beilein congratulates his team on a play in the first half against the Pittsburgh Panthers at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

Beilein came to West Virginia at a pivotal time for the Mountaineer basketball program. WVU had one NCAA tournament appearance in the previous 10 years, albeit it a run to the Sweet 16 in 1998, and a 49-65 record the last five seasons prior to taking over the program.  

Beilein grabbed the reigns in 2002 and raced out to a 7-1 start, including a win over No. 9 Florida but finished the season 14-17. In year two, the Mountaineers flipped the record and earned a birth to the NIT in advance to the Elite 8. 

The addition of St. Bonaventure transfer Mike Gansey in year three to a gritty group featuring Tyrone Salley, JD Collins, Kevin Pittsnogle and Joe Herber propelled the Mountaineers to a 24-11 overall record, a run to the Big East Tournament Championship game and an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. West Virginia captured the hearts of Mountaineers fans with a run to the Elite 8, which included a triple overtime win over the two-seed Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the second round led by current NBA guard Chris Paul, marking the first appearance in a regional final game since the 1959-60 season. 

Feb 14, 2006; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach John Beilein during the 2nd half against the Seton Hall Pirates at the Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, NJ. Seton Hall defeated West Virginia 71-64.

Feb 14, 2006; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach John Beilein during the 2nd half against the Seton Hall Pirates at the Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, NJ.

The Mountaineers followed the historic season with another 20+ win season, a NCAA tournament bid and a trip to the Sweet 16, losing a heartbreaker to Texas in the final seconds. WVU had not had consecutive 20+ win season in nearly a decade and back-to-back NCAA tourney bids in 20 years and consecutive trips to the Sweet 16 had not happened dating back to the aforementioned 1959-60 season. 

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The Mountaineers followed the historic season with another 20+ win season, a NCAA tournament bid and a trip to the Sweet 16, losing a heartbreaker to Texas in the final seconds. WVU had not had consecutive 20+ win season in nearly a decade and back-to-back NCAA tourney bids in 20 years and consecutive trips to the Sweet 16 had not happened dating back to the aforementioned 1959-60 season. 

Mar 4, 2006; Cincinnati, OH, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach John Beilein yells at his team in the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Fifth Third Arena.

Beilein's two year run with Gansey, Pittsnogle, Herbert and Collins still brings smiles to Mountaineer fans today, reminiscing regular season wins at UCLA and toppled the No. 2 Bruins the following season in the return trip to Morgantown. Or the time Kevin Pittsnogle scored 20 of his 22 points in the final 9:22 at Pitt to upset the Panthers 70-66. 

By year four, Beilein was rebuilding from the incredible two-year run but had a young nucleus that strung together an overall record of 22-9 during the regular season and was snubbed from the NCAA. However, the Mountaineers were eager to prove the doubter wrong, accepted the NIT invite and took Madison Square Garden by storm when guard Darris Nichols hit the game winning three over Mississippi State in the semifinals before knocking off Clemson 78-73 in the championship.

Beilein moved on from WVU after five seasons, taking the head coaching position at Michigan, another program he resurrected to two Final Four appearances, two Big 10 tournament titles and two Big 10 regular season titles. He left lasting memories for many during his time in Morgantown and for that matter, everywhere he coached. 

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