Mullens coaching legend Don Nuckols has passed away.
Nuckols coached the Rebels to five state championships—Class AA in 1970 and 1972 and Class A in 1982, 1983 and 1984.
He coached at Mullens from 1968-84, where his players included current Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, Greg White, Herbie Brooks, Jerome Anderson, Willie Stewart and other standouts.
Brooks, an all-stater at Mullens who went on to star at WVU, said Nuckols taught him a strong work ethic.
But he said basketball was not the primary role he played.
“His biggest influence wasn’t basketball, it was life,” Brooks remarked.
State Sen. Jeff Mullins, who played for Nuckols in the 1980s, called Nuckols “a role model for many in southern West Virginia.
“He instilled a sense of pride in those he coached,” Mullins commented. “He stressed the importane of reaching your goals and value of hard, hard work. We functioned as a team under Coach’s leadership and I will always be gratefu for his many lesson on life.
“He will be missed,” said Mullins.
Gov. Jim Justice issued a statement today in which he said Nuckols “lived a wonderful life and contributed so much to building up the character of young men.
“He was a dear friend and a great competitor,” the statement continues. “All West Virginians knew Don Nuckols and we will all miss him. Don was a real right fighter, a real competitor and a tremendous coach.
“I’m sure the Good Lord has got Don suited up with his dream team and he is coaching them to victory after victory in heaven,” the statement concludes.
Check out the full story and the obituary in the Feb. 22 Independent Herald.