Bob Huggins’ coaching career at West Virginia has come to a sorrowful ending.
Huggins informed WVU players, coaches and staff members Saturday night of his intention to resign 24 hours after he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Pittsburgh.
Shortly after, Huggins released a message to the WVU community.
Today, I have submitted a letter to President Gordon Gee and Vice President and Director of Athletics Wren Baker informing them of my resignation and intention to retire as head men’s basketball coach at West Virginia University effective immediately.
My recent actions do not represent the values of the University or the leadership expected in this role. While I have always tried to represent our University with honor, I have let all of you — and myself — down. I am solely responsible for my conduct and sincerely apologize to the University community — particularly to the student-athletes, coaches and staff in our program. I must do better, and I plan to spend the next few months focused on my health and my family so that I can be the person they deserve.
It has been the honor of my professional career to lead the men’s basketball program at my alma mater and I take great pride in our accomplishments. But I am most proud of the tremendous young men who chose to spend their formative years with us, and who have gone on to do great things with their lives.
I was born in Morgantown, graduated from West Virginia University and had the pleasure of coaching here for seventeen seasons as an assistant or head coach. It will always be my home, and I will always be a Mountaineer.
Thank you to everyone who has supported our program over the years. It has meant more to me and my family than you could ever know.
WVU President E. Gordon Gee and Director of Athletics Wren Baker released a statement shortly after Huggins’ statement. It reads:
Coach Huggins informed us of his intent to retire and has submitted his letter of resignation, and we have accepted it in light of recent events. We support his decision so that he can focus on his health and family.
On behalf of West Virginia University, we share our appreciation for his service to our University, our community and our state. During his time as a student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach, Coach Huggins devoted himself to his players, to our student body, to our fans and alumni and to all West Virginians. His contributions will always be a part of our history.
In the days ahead, we will focus on supporting the student-athletes in our men’s basketball program and solidifying leadership for our program.
According to a criminal complaint, Huggins’ black SUV was seen around 8:30 p.m. Friday on Merchant Street off of Ridge Avenue in the middle of the road blocking traffic. Police said the driver’s side door was open and the vehicle had a flat and shredded tire.
Officer accounts stated Huggins was unable to provide an accurate location of where he was and said that he’d been watching basketball at a camp earlier that day with his brother in Sherrodsville, Ohio — 80 miles from Pittsburgh. Huggins displayed “every marker for impairment” and was nearly unable to perform a walk and turn test, while empty beer cans were visible in a white garbage bag in the front of his vehicle and empty metal beer bottles were seen in another white garbage bag in the trunk.
Huggins blew a .210 on a breathalyzer after being taken into custody — more than two times the legal limit of Pennsylvania’s .08 blood alcohol content level.
Huggins has a career record of 935-414, including 345-203 over 16 seasons at his alma mater in Morgantown. He was also head coach at Cincinnati for 16 seasons, where Huggins won 399 of 526 games. However, his successful tenure with the Bearcats ended earlier than anticipated due to a June 2004 arrest for DUI in Cincinnati.
After he was out of coaching for one season, Huggins got back in the profession and spent one season at Kansas State, before the West Virginia job came open when former Mountaineers’ head coach John Beilein left to for the same title at Michigan.
The highlight of Huggins’ WVU tenure was the 2009-10 season, when in his third year, he helped guide the Mountaineers to 31 wins, a Big East Championship and the program’s second Final Four.
Huggins momentarily became the winningest active Division I coach in March after Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim announced his retirement.
Huggins’ WVU teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of his first five seasons and 11 of a possible 15.
Friday’s arrest was the latest episode in what’s been a troubling summer for Huggins, who was facing a three-game suspension to start next season after twice using an anti-gay slur as a radio guest on 700 WLW in Cincinnati in May.
As a result of what Huggins went on to describe as a completely insensitive and abhorrent phrase in his apology, WVU responded by reducing Huggins’ annual compensation $1 million for next season, with that money instead going to support the university’s LGBTQ+ Center, the Carruth Center and other state and national organizations in support of marginalized communities.
Less than six weeks later, Huggins’ latest trouble seems to have signaled the end of a storied coaching career.