Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sports column

June 4, 2014

Jerry West talks about son Jonnie and coaching change

MORGANTOWN — Jerry West talked about youngest son Jonnie and the hiring of Steve Kerr as the Golden State Warriors newest head coach recently.

Jonnie, like his famous father, is associated with that NBA franchise. Under Jerry’s guidance, the past two or three years, the team has shown great improvement.

Asked how Jonnie is doing since playing basketball in Jerry’s footsteps at West Virginia University, West replied in a phone interview:

“He’s doing great. Jonnie works for the Warriors. He works some with the developmental team. He is also going out and scouting games and things of that nature.

“He has a degree in sport management and a master’s degree in business management. So that fits nicely to be involved at a higher level in the NBA or anywhere else.

“So he’s somewhere where his education is helping him in his work. We’re pleased that Jonnie is doing so well.”

The 6-foot-3, 195 pound guard was a four-year letterman in the seasons ending in 2008-09-10. The Mountaineers won a Big East Championship and made appearances in four NCAA tournaments.

West was named to two Big East academic all-star teams. He played in 77 games as a Mountaineer.

His career high as a scorer was 12 points in a game as a senior against St. John’s 79-60 in 2010. WVU finished 31-7 that year and reached the NCAA tourney’s Final Four.

Jonnie West will likely tell you he didn’t come close to what his dad achieved on the hard wood. But even the elder West has to be impressed with Jonnie’s foul shooting.

For his career, the youngest converted amazing 19 of 21 free throws. That’s an unbelievable but true 90.5 percent.

Here’s what Jerry West, the greatest and most honored basketball superstar in WVU history, had to say about selecting the Golden State Warriors new head coach:

“Every time coaching changes are made, it’s very difficult. It really is… But sometimes a change is necessary.

“You don’t hire people to let ‘em go. You hire to keep them for a long time. A relationship with a coach and other people in an organization, you want to keep for a long time.”

West does think continuity is important and that every time you wake a change, you’re going to get different looks, fresh ideas and all of that is good.

“But still at day’s end, you get people upset when jobs are lost,” he continued. “But trust me, management out here (with the Warriors) will make decisions that are necessary.”

West is happy with the choice of Kerr as Golden State’s new coach.

He noted that Kerr has been associated with some championship teams, a commentator, and he’s played for two great coaches in the NBA.

* * *

(More from Jerry West in my next column about some of his teammates at WVU from 1957-58 through 1959-60.)

 

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