It's not easy being a college graduate these days and searching for jobs, so West Virginia senior Joe Mazzulla is one of the lucky ones even if he chooses not to immediately pursue a professional playing career.
According to West Virginia Illustrated, Mazzulla has been unofficially offered an assistant coaching position at Division II Nova Southeastern University if he wants it, and the way coach Gary Tuell became interested in the Final Four-experienced guard is pretty amazing.
It was a cold, rainy night in Danville, Illinois, Tuell begins his story. The veteran coach was in town for the National Junior College Division-II Championship and found himself driving around in search of a McDonald's while listening to the WVU-Clemson game on the radio. He found his golden arches, parked his car and tuned in to hear the Mountaineers beat the Tigers. Then he heard the postgame interview with Mazzulla.
"I thought, 'Wow, this guy is all into coaching and he's a bright kid and he's a tough guy,'" says Tuell. "All the things that I'd like to have as an assistant coach I thought Joe embodied, at least from the short time I could tell on the radio. It was just an inspirational thing."
Tuell got in touch, and now Mazzulla has to decide whether or not he wants to accept the job in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Mazzulla told West Virginia Illustrated he's taking an NCAA compliance class and now just wants to visit campus to see if he wants to coach or pursue a playing career overseas.
"It's a pretty good opportunity, but I don’t know if I'm ready to retire just yet," he says. "It's tough, especially with the competitive nature that I have. No matter how hurt [I am] or what the scenario is, I always try to play more and stuff like that. It's something that I've thought about here and there but I'm really kind of letting the visit and the atmosphere of the university really gauge whether I want to do it or not."
"Two weeks from now I could be at an AAU [event] evaluating a Division-II kid, so that's something that obviously goes into it," he says. "If I do it, am I not only going to do it physically but 100 percent mentally with that kind of coaching maturity? That's something that I’m obviously going to look into."
Mazzula and Bob Huggins share a close relationship, so he definitely has a coach to help him make a decision and even offer up advice on a coaching style. There are limits to that, of course.
Earlier in the week, Mazzulla spoke at the Huggins' charity roast and indicated that if he does enter the coaching ranks, you won't see him wearing sweat suits.