It’s been eight years since Joe Mazzulla helped lead the West Virginia University Mountaineers to the NCAA Final Four, and now he’s returning to the basketball court. Except this time, he is on the sideline as head coach for the Fairmont State Fighting Falcons men’s basketball team.
Mazzulla, from Johnston R.I, spent four years playing for Coach Bob Huggins, 2007-2010. During his time at WVU, he recounts one of his favorite memories with the team.
“I’ll always remember hearing Take Me Home Country Roads after winning the Big East championship in Madison Square Garden. Our effort and identity with a blue-collar mentality became the identity of the people of the state of West Virginia. I truly believe we went to the Final Four because we were playing for something bigger than ourselves,” said Mazzulla.
While off the basketball court, the former Mountaineer earned his undergraduate multidisciplinary degree in sport and exercise psychology, Spanish and business in 2009. He graduated in May 2011 with a Master’s of Science in Athletic Coaching.
Mazzulla credits his relationships with professors, coaches for helping him establish a coaching career. During his time at CPASS, Mazzulla remembers advice from retired professor Dr. Dan Ziatz.
“Dr. Ziatz would say, ‘you don’t have to, you get to,’” said Mazzulla.
Now as a head coach, Mazzulla has his own tips for players and students who hope to become coaches.
“Relationships are the most important thing in coaching and in life. How are you affecting and learning from others? Don’t coach for anything other than the love of relationships and the game,” Mazzulla said.
Mazzulla and his wife Camai currently reside in Fairmont and have two children, Michael Harden and Emmanuel Joseph Daniel Mazzulla. Mazzulla has lived in West Virginia since 2006. In his free time, he coaches his son's soccer team and still plays basketball with family and friends.