EXCLUSIVE: Moundsville WVU Hoops Hero Chase Harler on Covid-19, Coach Huggins And Proposing to Fiancée He’d Dated Since 8th Grade — “Coach Huggins always talks about how tough West Virginia people are. It may take toughness to stay inside.”

Q: First, most importantly, you earned some fame by proposing to your fiancée Lindsey Baker a few weeks ago, before the last WVU basketball game of the year, against Baylor. How long had you been planning that? And is it true you’ve been dating since 8th grade?

I had the idea my freshman year of college. It is true! We started dating on Dec 20, 2011.

Q: What are you doing to cope with the pandemic crisis?

My fiancée and I live together in Morgantown. We have a dog and two cats. They are keeping us pretty entertained, as well as binge watching TV shows. Below Deck: Mediterranean is what we are watching right now.

Q: How many colleges did you look at? Why did you choose WVU?

I was being recruited by Winthrop, James Madison, Marshall, and Elon. I grew up a huge WVU fan. I take so much pride being from Moundsville and West Virginia and I wanted to represent both the best way I could think of. So once they started recruiting me, I wanted to hold out as long as possible for them to offer me a scholarship so I could commit. Luckily, they offered be the summer going into my junior year of high school. I committed on the spot to [Legendary WVU] Coach [Bob] Huggins when he did it.

 Q: What are some of the qualities that people in West Virginia have that will help them get through the pandemic crisis?

Coach Huggins always talks about how tough West Virginia people are. I have seen it first hand from my parents, other family members, and friends. I know everyone is a bit shook about the virus – but having a tough enough mindset will help everyone get through it. It may take toughness to stay inside when you really do not want to.

Q: You played four years at WVU, and went to two Sweet Sixteens, but it all started in Moundsville. How did you start playing basketball? Who taught you?

I started playing organized basketball in 4th grade. I was fortunate enough to play on the 5th & 6th grade team at St. Francis Xavier School (the school is not there anymore, but the building is) as a 4th grader. My dad was by far the biggest influence in my life for the game of basketball. Also, my mom has never missed a sporting event of mine in middle school and high school. Her support had a huge impact on me as well.

 Q: What’s your favorite memory of youth basketball?

One of my favorite youth basketball memories was in 8th grade. For my 7th and 8th grade years, I attended Our Lady of Peace. In 8th grade, we won the championship. My dad was the assistant coach, so it was a great moment to share with him.

Q: How long has your family been in Moundsville?

My mom and dad are both from Moundsville, and have lived there most of their lives. I have never lived anywhere else – same house growing up and all. 

Q: What kind of jobs did people in your family do?

My dad is in an issuance agent in Glen Dale. My mom is a dentist in St. Clairsville, OH. My dad’s dad worked in the Chemical Plant, Allied Chemical, in Moundsville. My mother’s dad worked at Blaw Knox, in Wheeling.

 Q: You’ve seen our documentary “Moundsville”? What’s something you learned from it?

Since my elementary / middle was right by the mound, we would take yearly visits there for class. It is hard for me to remember all the facts I learned back then. It was very refreshing to hear about all the history about the mound.

 Q: What are some of your favorite places in Moundsville?

One of my favorite places in Moundsville as a kid was East End basketball courts, Maxwell Acres, and the baseball fields. This is where I spent a majority of my time growing up.

 Q: What’s the significance of the mound to you? How about the prison?

There are both very popular landmarks, and most people know about both throughout the state. It is pretty cool to think people travel from all over to visit the mound and prison.

 Q: What are your dreams for the future, personal, professional and basketball?

My next step is to play professional basketball overseas. I plan to play basketball as long as I can. When the ball stops bouncing – I plan to begin my basketball coaching career, most likely at the collegiate level.

John W. Miller

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