Huggins has zero chance of returning as WVU’s coach

WVU Athletic Director Wren Baker will conduct a nationwide search for a permanent head basketball coach. Baker indicated when he hired Josh Eilert on an interim basis last year that he would wait until the end of the season.  However, if Baker is doing his job, he is already exploring the possibilities.

Eilert should be considered. The longtime assistant took over under difficult circumstances and has had to adapt to one challenge after another. He has handled the position with professionalism and grace, although the wins have been in short supply. 

One name that will NOT be on WVU’s radar is Bob Huggins. The Hall of Fame coach and West Virginia sports legend was forced to resign last year after first dropping an anti-gay slur on a Cincinnati radio show and, just weeks later, getting arrested in Pittsburgh for drunk driving.

Huggins made matters worse by claiming he never really resigned and then threatening to sue the University. Those events and his obstinacy burned up much of the well-earned goodwill he had built up at the University over the years.

The chatter continues that Huggins would like his old job back, and the coach has his supporters in Mountaineer Nation who would like to see him back on the bench as soon as possible.

But that simply is not going to happen. According to my sources, there is zero interest at the highest levels of the WVU Athletic Department or Stewart Hall for Huggins to return as coach or even be under consideration.

Zero.

Apparently, that hardened position holds true for the Board of Governors as well. I understand that maybe only one member of the 17-member board would be in support of Huggins.

Yes, there are donors who remain loyal to Huggins, but the number that would be willing to push hard for his return has dwindled significantly since the events of last year. There is not enough support among the money people to pressure Baker, President Gordon Gee and a majority of the Board to give in.

There simply is no avenue for Huggins to return as coach.

An elegant epilogue to this story would be if Huggins is one day welcomed to the Coliseum for a formal recognition of his historic accomplishments and contributions to the University. But that will not happen until Huggins and those closest to him understand that he will never be the head coach again, and that he must publicly take responsibility for his conduct.

 





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