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Don Nehlen, Gale Catlett: The Greatest Coaching Combo In WVU History

With a number of notable coaches through the years, Don Nehlen and Gale Catlett are the greatest football and men's basketball coaching combination at one time at West Virginia.

RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

In today's world of college athletics, the task of finding a program with two superior coaches in the two revenue sports of football and men's basketball would be a difficult one where you'll find a powerhouse and the other struggling to keep up with on-field success.

Wednesday, ESPN's Chris Low and Adam Rittenberg ranked the top 10 coaching combinations to ever cross paths at the same school such as Mike Krzyzewski and Steve Spurrier coaching at Duke for three seasons, Billy Donovan and Urban Meyer winning football and basketball championships at Florida in 2006 and legends Adolph Rupp and Bear Bryant coaching the Kentucky Wildcats for seven seasons in the late 40s-early 50s.

West Virginia University's two greatest coaches, Don Nehlen and Gale Catlett, didn't just cross paths like the aforementioned names, but spent more than two decades leading their Mountaineer teams from the 1980s through the early 2000s.

After three seasons as a Mountaineer from 1961-1963 and six seasons as Cincinnati Bearcats head coach from 1973-1978, Catlett returned to his alma mater as head coach in 1979. Meanwhile, Nehlen left his alma mater, Bowling Green where he played quarterback from 1955-1957, a year later after eight seasons as the Falcons' head coach before coming to West Virginia.

The two coaches' resumes are ones that might not be matched by any future coach at WVU. Nehlen (149) and Catlett (439) both sit as the winningest coaches in their sports, and hold a commanding lead with more than double the wins of WVU alums Rich Rodriguez (60) and Bob Huggins (175), who both come in second on the football and basketball all-time wins lists.

An argument can be made in favor Huggins being West Virginia's best overall basketball coach with his success in the NCAA tournament that outshines Catlett, who reached the Sweet 16 only once during his career with the Mountaineers. The discussion would be interesting between Huggins and Catlett when the current WVU coach closes the book on his hall of fame career to compare who made the most impact in their careers.

Those who saw both Nehlen and Catlett on the sidelines in their tenures with the Mountaineers cherish those memories. Fans may not see two West Virginia coaches of that caliber cross paths in Morgantown again.