Blake Mellinger enters his sixth year at the helm of the UVa-Wise men's basketball program for the 2018-19 season. After doubling the team’s win total for the three consecutive seasons, Coach Mellinger guided the Cavaliers to their best record of the past five years with a 14-16 overall mark and an 11-11 record in the Mountain East Conference last season.
The 2017-18 campaign saw major victories and accolades as UVa-Wise defeated three of the league’s top four teams inside the David J. Prior Convocation Center. Under Mellinger’s tutelage, forward Taiwo Badmus completed an outstanding career as a Cavalier, scoring his 1,000th point in a 25-point comeback win at home against Glenville State. Badmus currently ranks 14th on the UVa-Wise men’s basketball all-time scoring list, collecting 1,265 points in two seasons with UVa-Wise. History was made last season for point guard Michal Seals as he scored his first career triple-double at home as he posted 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. Seal’s triple-double was the second in David J. Prior Convocation Center history.
The Cavaliers advanced to the Mountain East Conference Tournament last season with a first-round victory against Glenville State. The win marked the first time the men’s basketball program had won a conference tournament game since 2010.
During the 2016-17 season, Mellinger led UVa-Wise to nine victories for the most wins in a season since the Cavs’ 2013-14 campaign. For the second-straight year, Mellinger steered UVa-Wise to an upset of a nationally ranked opponent inside the David J. Prior Convocation Center as the Cavs took down No. 18 Wheeling Jesuit University 83-81 on Feb. 9, 2016. The win came a season after UVa-Wise upset then 14th-ranked King University on Dec. 20, 2015.
Mellinger has developed three all-conference forwards during his time as head coach starting with All-Mountain East Conference First Team selection Deon Boyce in 2014. Matt Day claimed All-MEC Second Team honors in 2016 before recently graduated Cavalier forward Taiwo Badmus (London, England) was named to the All-MEC Second Team in 2017 and the All-MEC First Team in 2018. Boyce, Day, and Badmus each averaged double-doubles in scoring and rebounding their senior seasons as Boyce led the nation in rebounding his final year as a Cavalier. Day completed his career ranking sixth on UVa-Wise’s all-time scoring list with 1,627 total points and holds the school record for most points scored in a single game (49). Badmus averaged a double-double during his junior year in 2016-17 after transferring to UVa-Wise from Fairmont State and finished his career averaging a double-double of 21.9 points and 10.4 rebounds.