The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
There is no place like home and that was the case for Mike Carey this past Friday. Carey returned to Harrison County to have his jersey retired at his Alma Mater, Liberty High School. Carey was a standout basketball player from 1974-76. Carey undoubtedly deserved the honor as he not only remains the schools all time scoring leader and holds the highest points per game average (33.5) in Harrison County history.
After an impressive high school career, Carey starred at Salem College garnering multiple accolades in a tiger uniform. His intensity and love for the game separated him from other players which made it no surprise when he traded in his uniform for a whistle.
I’ve been fortunate to follow Carey’s coaching career closely. When I was a player at Washington Irving High School, Carey was the head coach at Liberty. His teams were always prepared and hard to beat.
It was obvious that Carey had all of the tools and intangibles to take his talents to the next level… Carey then took over in Salem. At the same time I managed to earn a teaching degree and began a coaching career in Harrison County. Carey spent 13 seasons running the program and collected 288 wins. Two former teammates of mine George Moses and Billy Childers, along with a standout player that I had the honor of coaching at South Harrison, Joe Fenstermacher went through Carey’s program. Needless to say, I spent many evenings at the T. Edwards Davis Gymnasium. I became friends with Coach Carey and grew to appreciate his love for the game and his players.
Carey left Salem and made his way to Morgantown to take over the reins of the WVU Womens Squad. It doesn’t seem like it is possible but Carey has been at the helm for 15 seasons. He turned the corner with yet another team and has picked up 300 more victories with the Lady Mountaineers.
As Carey has garnered more than 600 wins, fans do not realize just how impressive that total really is. Carey took over a pair of struggling programs, turned them around, and then took them both to their highest levels in history.
His jersey will never be worn again at Liberty High School and that is a good thing for two reasons. It is unquestionably deserved due to Carey’s play on the court. Secondly, the way he approached the game with laser like focus and unprecedented passion make his shoes hard to fill.
WVU’s mens squad suffered a 76-62 defeat to Oklahoma in a crucial contest at the coliseum last Saturday. The Mountaineers held first place in the Big 12 conference but a pair of road losses to Texas and Kansas put them in a precarious position. It made the lock-up with the Sooners crucial to their hopes of earning their first ever regular season title in the Big 12. The defeat might have squashed that goal but there is enough season remaining to build momentum heading into March Madness!
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!