By Marty Gordon NRVsports@ourvalley.org
Black and gold was scattered throughout Cassell Coliseum recently as former Radford High School graduates squared off when Radford and Virginia Tech met in a men’s basketball game won by the Hokies 65-39.
Radford University head coach Darris Nichols and Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young are both Radford High School alums, just one of many connections between the two coaches.
Young was present for Nichols’s introductory press conference on April 21.
The two were on the same sideline for the 2013-14 season at Wofford where Young was the head coach and Nichols was an assistant coach. Picked to finish sixth in the league by the coaches that season, the Terriers won 20 games and a Southern Conference Tournament championship that earned them an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
In that NCAA Tournament game, Nichols was on the opposite bench from his former head coach at West Virginia, as Beilein’s Michigan team topped 15th-seeded Wofford.
In addition to Darris, older brother Shane Nichols, who is on Darris’s staff at RU, has Coach Young and Radford ties as well. Shane played for Young at Wofford (2005-08) before joining his staff as an assistant coach (2010-12). Shane was on the staff when the Terriers won the SoCon title and advanced to the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Radford University Director of Athletics Robert Lineburg is Mike Young’s cousin. Growing up, Nichols also knew Young’s family closely. Young’s aunt (Joann Lineburg) was his favorite physical education teacher, his dad (Bob Young) was Nichols’s middle school principal, and his cousin (Mark Lineburg) was Nichols’s high school principal.
All four (Young, the Nichols brothers, and Lineburg) are in the Radford High School Hall of Fame.
After their defeat of the Higlanders, the Hokies have a 10-2 advantage all-time in the series. The win was VT’s fourth straight in the series that started in 1987.
Other interesting notes from the game:
Tech is now two wins away from securing program win No. 1,500.
Virginia Tech has never lost on November 15.
The game marked Mike Young’s 600th career game as a head coach.
VT guard Storm Murphy’s first name comes from his mom’s maiden name. In addition to being born in January, he was born during a snowstorm in Wisconsin.