Jim Justice was running the first practice session for the Greenbrier East girls basketball team Monday, Nov. 7, the day before the statewide election that would elect him governor of West Virginia. He planned to vote the following day, and refused to predict a victory, saying “We got to run through the finish line. You never know how an election is going to turn out.”
Justice said he plans to coach both boys and girls basketball at East, as he has done for many years. “I love these kids and I’ve done it forever, and if I’m fortunate enough to be honored and be elected, I plan to coach. I won’t start serving as governor until January. Surely I’ll be able to finish out the season. I think I’ll be able to do it every year. Even if I’m governor, I plan to make it to every game and every practice. If there is an emergency, I have a lot of great assistants.”
Anticipating serving as governor and as coach, Justice commented: “Nobody in the history of the world has owned the Greenbrier and also run 102 businesses. You know, if you want something done in the church, go ask the busiest person and they’ll get it done for you.”
About the team’s prospects, he said, “The girls are going to be very good. They’re really young, we’ve got to get them some experience. They’re going to fool a lot of people. We’re going to have a really good season.” Justice plan to make no cuts. “We’re going to keep them all. Fifteen on varsity and 15 on junior varsity. We’ve got about 30 kids coming out. We only have two seniors, Katie Wilmer and Piper Nunley. There’s a whole slew of freshmen. We’ll be really young, but we’ll have them ready.”
At the end of the interview, Justice noted that in all his years of coaching, semi-pro, AAU, junior high and high school boys and girls, he has won a total of 999 games. “This will be my chance to win my 1,000th game,” he said. His record at East is 380-137. His record overall is 999-214. The first game for East’s girls is Tuesday, Nov. 29, at home, against Midland Trail.