BUCKHANNON – West Virginia Wesleyan College and the men's basketball team welcome back Nick Patella to the hardwood as the next head coach in program history.
Patella, a former MBA graduate of the college, served as a graduate assistant for the Bobcats during the 2007-2009 seasons then followed as an assistant coach during the 2009-2010 season.
“Returning to Wesleyan to lead this program is a dream come true,” remarked Patella. “I have always had a love and connection to this place – my family history runs deep."
Patella comes from former GMAC member, and MEC newcomer, Davis & Elkins College where he has spent the last four seasons as head coach.
Upon his arrival to D&E in late September of the 2016-17 Patella and the Senators doubled their wins in his first season placing three members to All-Conference honors including the Freshman of the Year Kevin Simpson.
The Senators also won their first postseason game in GMAC history before following up next year's campaign with their second best season in 36 years finishing third in GMAC play and advancing to the semi-finals of the GMAC tournament.
Three more players earned GMAC accolades including the nation's 2nd leading offensive rebounder, Rickenjee Bellevue, and the Conference's Player of the Year, and All-American, Kevin Bracy-Davis.
The back-to-back seasons tallied the most wins for the Senators since the 1980-81 seasons.
"I feel blessed that my first opportunity as a head coach was in my hometown and now, I have the opportunity to coach one of my two alma maters,” stated Patella. “This is a rare occasion in this profession, and I have many people to thank starting with President Joel Thierstein and athletic director Randy Tenney for helping make this dream a reality. I also want to thank former D&E President Buck Smith, current President Chris Wood and current Athletic Director Jamie Joss for their investment in me. Finally, I'd like to thank all of my family for their continued support and all of the players and coaches I've been so fortunate to be with along the way."
Patella, a native of Elkins, played for current Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein at West Virginia University from 2002-2005 where he was a member of the 2004-05 Elite 8 team.
First a walk-on and later earning a scholarship, Patella suffered a series of concussions and injuries as a player before deciding to switch gears to the other side court diving into coaching.
“There's a rich history here and my family and I cannot wait to add to it," explained Patella. “Coming back to the place where it all started only adds to the pride I already feel for WVWC. I'm excited to meet the guys and get to work! We have much to do and I know they've been patiently waiting to get started. I also look forward to connecting with alumni and building support for our team and program. It's a great time to be a Bobcat!”
Nick is married to his wife, Ann Marie. They have three children, NJ(5), Noah(2), and Neva (newborn).