Huggins demands reinstatement as WVU men’s basketball head coach

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Former WVU basketball coach Bob Huggins claims he never resigned and is demanding reinstatement as head coach.

In a letter sent from Huggins’ attorneys to WVU on July 7, Huggins is requesting to return to his position. The letter states that Huggins does not seek litigation and is “simply looking for the correction of a clear breach of his employment agreement with WVU”.

Huggins Counsel letter to WVU President E. Gordon Gee

The letter from Huggins’ attorney adds: “Based on press statements, it appears that WVU is taking the position that Coach Huggins voluntarily resigned and terminated the Employment Agreement in advance of April 30, 2024. However, although the press statements purport to have resignation communications directly from Coach Huggins to you and/or the Athletic Director, Coach Huggins has never communicated his resignation to you, the Athletic Director, or anyone at WVU. To the contrary, we understand that the purported “resignation” is incredibly based on a text message from Coach Huggins’ wife.”

WVU says the Hall of Fame coach did indeed resign and the university moving on. In a response letter to Huggins’ counsel, WVU claims that Huggins’ contentions are “factually inaccurate”.

WVU Response Letter to Campbell regarding Huggins

In the response letter, WVU adds: “What is clear, however, is that on the evening of June 17, 2023, Mr. Huggins met with members of the men’s basketball staff and student-athletes to announce that he would no longer be coaching the team. The same evening at 9:38 p.m., following a series of written and verbal communications with Mr. Gianola, who was acting as his counsel, Mr. Huggins clearly communicated his resignation and retirement to the University in writing via email (not text message as asserted in your letter).”

In a June 17 letter from WVU Deputy General Counsel Gary G. Furbee, II to Huggins’ attorney, “Rocky” Gianola, the following language was used: “Please accept this correspondence as my formal notice of resignation as WVU Head Basketball Coach and as notice of my retirement from West Virginia University, effective immediately.”

WVU correspondence to Huggins’ counsel

Further, in a letter from WVU Director of Athletics Wren Baker to Bob Huggins’ wife, June Huggins, Baker said: “We accept your resignation and wish you the best in retirement. We appreciate your many years of dedication to WVU.”

Huggins was arrested for DUI in Pittsburgh on June 16. A criminal complaint said he smelled of alcohol and couldn’t tell police where he was. He blew a .210 on a breathalyzer. He waived his case earlier this week and is scheduled for a formal arraignment on the charges in August.

WVU reported Huggins’ resignation about 26 hours after his arrest. A statement was posted on the official WVU Athletics website shortly after the resignation was announced:

Mountaineer Nation:

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. 

Sincerely,

Bob Huggins





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