Penn State Altoona athletics has announced the hiring of Doug West as the head coach of its men’s basketball program.
West becomes the fifth head coach in the Penn State Altoona men’s basketball Division III era, which began with the team’s first season as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 1998-1999.
“I am honored to be chosen as the head men’s basketball coach at Penn State Altoona,” said West. “This is a dream of mine to lead a program and mentor young men on and off the court. There is no better place than my hometown for this dream to come true.”
“I want to thank Penn State Altoona, Interim Director of Athletics Brent Baird, and the search committee for their time and efforts. I realize the importance of this opportunity, and I look forward to leading these young men and this university for years to come.”
West, a native of Altoona and a graduate of Altoona Area High School, has an extensive basketball profile that includes a 12-year playing career in the National Basketball Association (NBA), a four-year playing career at Villanova University, and coaching experience in the high school, collegiate, and professional ranks.
“We are very fortunate to add Doug West as our next men’s basketball coach,” said Baird. “Doug brings a wealth of knowledge acquired through playing and coaching at all levels within the basketball world. Through his experience and strong connection to the Altoona area community, I believe that he is a great choice to develop our program for future success.”
West earned a four-year athletic scholarship to Villanova out of high school and went on to become one of the most prolific scorers in Wildcats history, putting up 2,037 points from 1985-1989. He still ranks fifth on the team’s all-time scoring list. In 1988, he helped Villanova reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament and was named to the All-Southeast Regional Team for his performance.
After graduating from Villanova with a degree in Communications, West was selected in the second round (38th overall pick) of the 1989 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He enjoyed a nine-year career with the Timberwolves and is still among the top five in several all-time team records, including ranking second in games started (371), third in games played (609) and minutes (15,602), fourth in field goals made (2,530), and fifth in points scored (6,216) and steals (428). During the 1991-1992 season, West competed in the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest and earned Minnesota’s Defensive Player of the Year award. The following season, he posted career-highs in points per game (19.3) and minutes per game (38.8). After the 1997-1998 campaign, West was traded to the Vancouver Grizzlies, where he played until the conclusion of his career in 2001.
With his professional playing days behind him, West transitioned to coaching in 2001, serving as an assistant coach for the boys varsity and junior varsity basketball teams at Canon-McMillan High School in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania through 2003. From 2004-2006, he was the Athletic Director and Conditioning Coordinator at Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy in Wheeling, West Virginia, where he helped oversee operations of the school’s athletics department and its student-athletes. West returned to the sidelines in 2006, serving as an assistant women’s basketball coach for one season at Duquesne University.
In 2007, West worked for the Wasserman Media Group in Los Angeles as a Client Service Manager of Basketball. Here, he helped recruit and evaluate high school and college players for potential professional basketball careers while also acting as a mentor to potential and current professional players.
West was reunited with his alma mater later in 2007 when he became an assistant coach for the Villanova men’s basketball team. For five years, he played a key role in the program’s evaluation and recruiting process, developed scouting reports on opposing teams, helped oversee individual player workouts and instructions, and assisted in the execution of daily team practices. During his coaching tenure at Villanova, the Wildcats posted 77 wins, including seven NCAA Tournament victories and a trip to the Final Four in 2009.
In 2012, West joined the coaching staff of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the NBA Developmental League affiliate of the Houston Rockets. As an assistant coach with the team for one year, he worked to develop the squad’s potential NBA-level talent and helped in the drafting process for future D-League players. He also instructed defensive techniques and innovations that aligned with the Rockets’ organizational approaches, scouted opposing teams, and helped run daily practices. With West’s assistance, the Vipers posted a franchise-best 35 wins in 2012-2013 and won their second-ever D-League title.
After his stint in the D-League, West returned to Altoona and established Doug West Basketball, which provides instruction to local boys and girls basketball players from kindergarten to high school, conducts group and individual skill clinics and camps, and organizes men’s leagues, high school and junior high leagues, and grade school leagues. West has also spearheaded the Doug West Defenders, an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) travel basketball program that consists of 12 boys and girls programs.
West was a 1996 inductee to the Philadelphia Big Five hall of fame for his efforts as a student-athlete at Villanova. In 2004, he was inducted into the Blair County Hall of Fame, and three years later he was elected to Villanova’s Hall of Fame. West is also a member of the National Basketball Retired Players Association.