– win or lose, beilein won’t let national title define his career west la college open classes

"This is what … I haven’t done the math, but like 1,200 games as a head coach, and it’s just like you hang in there and you just do your absolute best every single day. And some day you’re going to say, ‘I gave it everything I had,’ and if I’m falling into my grave, that’s okay, too.

"But you just do everything you can to be the best coach, the best mentor, the best teacher, the best husband, the [best] grandfather, [the best] father every day, and you go do it again. And that’s all I want to be."

That’s one of the reasons beilein is so respected by his peers, including villanova head coach jay wright. He and wright were in the same region of the country when wright was a division III assistant and beilein was a division II head coach at lemoyne many years ago.Coach just

"My first coaching job was university of rochester under mike neer in 1984 … So he was in syracuse, I was in rochester," wright recalled. "Division III assistant coach is about as low as you can be in the college basketball business. So john was division II head coach, and just like he is now, just nicest guy in the world.

"I was a first-year coach. He was always really friendly, but the recruiting back then in upstate new york, we would recruit guys all year, then john would wait until the end of the year, because he had the scholarship, we didn’t. You’d be on a guy and you’d just hope you wouldn’t see john in the gym, and in april he’d pop in and he’d see you. You’d say, ‘are you going to take him, john?’ he goes, ‘yeah, I’m sorry, but we’re going to take him,’ because he was the only division II team that had scholarship.Head coach division III guys, they would have to pay.

Soon, they were coaching against each other in the big east, wright at villanova, beilein at west virginia. Their wives played tennis together, and when the big east broke up and west virginia left, wright recalled, his wife was devastated.

"Patty said, ‘oh, my god. I’m going to lose my tennis partner. Kathy is leaving.’ I said, ‘we’re losing a great coach and a great team. It’s a little bit bigger than that,’" wright said. "’it’s a little scary.’ but just everything you see in john is what you get. Greatest guy in the world, man, great coach."

"When he broke in, he was brought in to … Villanova had a couple of tough seasons, and he came in to bring villanova back, and we followed at west virginia one year later," he said. "So I think just the first couple of times we played they were great games, that we were both just trying to win a game, and the NCAA tournament was a dream at that point for both of us.West virginia I made one move after that, but we’ve known each other for a long time."

"We have a great relationship … And to answer that question, at the end of the game, he’ll still look like george clooney and I will look like columbo by peter falk at the end of that thing," he quipped. "So there’s your comparison. I’d like to say kevin costner, but I can’t go there."

A title wouldn’t change that, either, but it would be a fitting cherry on top to an already incredible career, with the potential for more in sight.