September 21, 1953 |
Morgantown, West Virginia
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|West Virginia (asst.)
Ohio State (asst.)
Central Florida (asst.)
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
Big East Tournament Championship (2010)
C–USA Tournament Championship (1996, 1998, 2002, 2004)
C–USA Regular Season Championship (1996, 1997,
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004)
Great MW Tournament Championship (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995)
Great MW Regular Season Championship (1992, 1993)
OVC Tournament Championship (1986)
OVC Regular Season Championship (1986)
C–USA Coach of the Decade (2005)
C–USA Coach of the Year (1998, 1999, 2000)
OVC Coach of the Year (1986)
Bob Huggins, nicknamed "Huggy Bear", (born September 21, 1953) is the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers men's basketball team. Huggins previously held the head coaching positions at the University of Cincinnati (1989–2005) and Kansas State University (2006–2007). His 690–251 record (.733) during his 28 seasons as a head coach (as of 2010) ranks him eighth in winning percentage and fourth in victories among active Division I coaches. He is one of only 4 active Division I coaches with 700 or more career victories. Huggins has been to 15 total NCAA tournaments, including 14 of the last 15 seasons. Huggins' teams have participated in the postseason 25 of 28 times, including two Final Fours: 1992 with Cincinnati, 2010 with West Virginia. Huggins has averaged 23.6 wins per season, including 25.6 his last 15 years.
On April 5, 2007, he accepted an offer to return to coach his alma mater of West Virginia University. After leading the Mountaineers to a Sweet 16 appearance, Huggins signed an 11-year contract with the university after the season ended.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Playing career
- 1.2 Coaching career
- 1.3 Recruiting success
- 2 Head coaching record
- 3 Coaching tree
- 4 See also
- 5 References
Huggins, who had moved to Port Washington, Ohio with his family, played basketball for his father, Charles, at Indian Valley South High School. As a senior, he helped lead his team to a 26–0 season. Huggins began college at Ohio University.
But Huggins returned to his native West Virginia, after transferring out from Ohio after his freshman season, playing point guard for the West Virginia University Mountaineers from 1975 until 1977. Huggins' career-high was 28 points against Virginia Tech, he averaged 13.2 points as a senior, and he totaled 800 career points in his three collegiate seasons. Teammate Maurice Robinson said of Huggins as a player, "You always knew that he was going to be successful in whatever he did because he worked real hard.”
Early coaching career
Huggins launched his coaching career as a graduate assistant on Joedy Gardner's staff at West Virginia University in 1977. He then spent two years as an assistant to Eldon Miller at Ohio State University. Huggins was only 27 when he became a collegiate head coach, accepting the position at Walsh University in 1980. In three seasons at Walsh, he compiled a 71–26 record, twice earning NAIA District 22 Coach of the Year honors. Huggins directed the Walsh 1982–83 team to a perfect 30–0 regular season mark and an eventual 34–1 mark. After serving as an assistant at University of Central Florida for the 1983–84 season, Huggins was named head coach at the University of Akron where he compiled a 97–46 record and reached post-season play in three of his five seasons there including an NCAA bid during the 1985–86 season.
Cincinnati, while having a rich history, had fallen under hard times. The once proud program that had been to 5 consecutive Final Fours from 1959 to 1963—including a pair of national championships in 1961 and 1962—had not been to the NCAA tournament since 1977 when Huggins arrived in 1989. After being relegated to the NIT his first two years, Huggins would take the Bearcats to the Final Four in his third season—the first of 14 straight NCAA tournament appearances.
Huggins compiled a 399–127 record (.759) in his 16 years at Cincinnati, making him the winningest coach in terms of victories and percentage in the school's basketball history. Huggins directed Cincinnati to ten conference regular-season titles and eight league tournament titles. The Bearcats appeared in post-season play in each of Huggins' 16 seasons at U.C., advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament two times in 1993 and 1996 and, in 1991–92, appearing once in the Final Four.
Huggins earned the Ray Meyer Award as the Conference USA Coach of the Year a record three times (1997–98, 1998–99, and 1999–2000), and was a unanimous choice for C-USA Coach of the Decade. He was selected national coach of the year by ESPN.com in 2001–02. His teams won five consecutive conference tournament titles—all four Great Midwest Conference titles from 1992 to 1995 and the first Conference USA tournament in 1996. He was named co-national coach of the year by The Sporting News last season and was Basketball Times' national coach of the year in 1997–98. He earned national coach of the year recognition from Hoop Scoop in 1991–92 and Playboy in 1992–93.
During this time the program also gained a reputation for a rough style of play and academic under-performance. Huggins routinely graduated only 30 percent of his players, compared with half of non-athletes at UC. Several of his players were also arrested and convicted on criminal charges. The program was placed on probation in 1998 for a lack of institutional control.
He often developed young and inexperienced teams with as many as three freshmen starters into championship squads. For example, Huggins surprised some astute college basketball followers in 1997–98 by directing a team which had only one returning starter to a 27–6 record, conference regular season, and tournament titles, a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and a Top-10 finish in the polls. The team was then upset by West Virginia in the tournament. Huggins' 2001–02 team, unranked when the season began, posted a 31–4 record, setting a school record for wins, made a clean sweep of the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles, and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, where they lost in double overtime to No 8 seed UCLA. In 2002–03, Huggins suffered a major heart attack on the last Saturday of September, but was present for the team's first practice two weeks later and coached the Bearcats with the same intensity that has become his trademark. Not surprisingly given the season's rocky start, the team qualified for the NCAA tournament only as an 8 seed, and were ousted in the first round by Gonzaga.
The 2003–04 season was business as usual for Huggins, who piloted the Bearcats to regular-season and tournament titles, and an NCAA tournament berth while amassing a 25–7 record. Despite a favorable draw — the team was sent to nearby Columbus for the first two rounds of the tournament — the Bearcats were mauled by the Illinois Fighting Illini, losing by 24 points in the second round. The 2004–05 Bearcats posted a 25–8 ledger, the ninth season in the past ten years that U.C. has won 25 or more games. They received only a 7 seed in the tournament, however, and gave eventual Elite Eight participant Kentucky a spirited game before falling in the second round at the RCA Dome in nearby Indianapolis.
On August 23, 2005; UC President Nancy L. Zimpher gave Huggins 24 hours to either resign and take a $3 million buyout or be reassigned outside the athletic department for the balance of his contract. Had Huggins not responded, he would have been fired. Huggins had told the press he didn't even know about the ultimatum until numerous reporters called him in Las Vegas, however, multiple correspondence between UC and Huggins' attorney show that not only had the parties been negotiating his termination, Huggins knew weeks in advance his termination was potentially imminent. He ultimately agreed to accept the $3 million buyout
Zimpher said that the Bearcat program under Huggins didn't fit with her plan to upgrade UC's academic reputation. However, she'd been seriously considering ousting Huggins since he was arrested for driving under the influence in 2004. He ultimately pleaded no contest to DUI.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Zimpher was particularly upset that news of the arrest broke on the morning of her first graduation as UC's president, at which Coretta Scott King was due to be the speaker. Huggins didn't help his image with Zimpher when an assistant coach, two players and a recruit were arrested in the spring of 2005.
At the time, Huggins' contract had a rollover clause which added a year every summer. Zimpher revoked that clause on June 11, 2004 after his no-contest plea, but allowed Huggins to return for the 2004–05 basketball season. On May 11, 2005, he was given the option of leaving or finishing the last two years remaining on his contract. In a May 16, 2005 press conference, Huggins announced that he was staying until his contract expired on June 30, 2007, thus agreeing to the terms originally offered to him by UC.
Huggins was replaced by assistant head coach Andy Kennedy.
After spending a year out of the coaching profession, on March 23, 2006, Huggins accepted the head coaching job at Kansas State University, replacing the fired Jim Wooldridge. The Wildcats had not been to the NCAA tournament since the 1996–1997 campaign and had not had a conference record better than 7–9 since the Big 12 Conference was formed in 1996. The previous three Kansas State basketball coaches (Dana Altman, Tom Asbury, Jim Wooldridge) had combined for a 236–232 (.504) record, while in that same period Huggins went 379–113 (.770) at Cincinnati. Frank Martin also left Cincinnati and joined Huggins' staff at K-State.
From his introductory press conference, Huggins got the momentum in Manhattan rolling with a quote of "Why settle for 2nd when 1st is available?" For the first time in the 12,580-seat Bramlage Coliseum history, all season ticket packages were sold out as season ticket sales went from 6,500 in 2005–06 to 12,580 for Huggins' inaugural year at Kansas State, and Manhattan's Aggieville district even temporarily changed its name, with banners and the iconic Varney's sign reading "Welcome To Huggieville.
During his first year at Kansas State, Huggins showed little signs of recruiting difficulty. Huggins molded his staff at Kansas State to help with his first two recruiting classes, and used his year to recruit some of the best prep players in America. Before arriving at Kansas State, many knew Huggins could attract top college basketball prep stars. Some included consensus top 10 players in O. J. Mayo, Bill Walker and other consensus top 100 recruits such as Herb Pope, Ramar Smith, and Jason Bennett. While Mayo, Pope, and Smith all ended up at other schools, Huggins was able to bring in Bennett for the 2006–07 season and Walker—initially slated to join the team for the 2007–08 season, managed to graduate from North College Hill High School early to participate in time for the spring semester. Huggins built his assistant coaching staff with recruiting in mind. He hired Brad Underwood, a 1986 Kansas State graduate, as Director of Basketball Operations. Underwood's hiring was essential in Landing 4-star shooting guard Blake Young, as he was Young's coach at Daytona Beach Community College. Assistant coach Frank Martin was the first assistant coach Huggins hired when he arrived at Kansas State. Martin, a Florida International graduate and assistant under Huggins when he was at Cincinnati, played a key part in landing top recruits from Florida. Luis Colon, a 6'10" forward out of Miami, Florida, was lured to Kansas State largely as a result of the recruiting efforts of Frank Martin. Huggins' first recruiting class at Kansas State included Bennett, Colon, Young, and 5th year senior from St. Johns University—Jermaine Maybank who took advantage of a now-defunct NCAA rule that allowed graduating seniors with eligibility still remaining to transfer to another school without penalty.
Huggins' second recruiting class was rated even better. The hiring of former North Carolina-Charlotte graduate Dalonte Hill was a key component to landing consensus top 5 playerMichael Beasley out of the Washington, D.C. area. Beasley, a famed UNC-Charlotte commit where Hill coached before Huggins hired him, switched his college choice to Kansas State soon after Hill was hired by Huggins. Other recruits in the 2007 recruiting class included Walker, Dominique Sutton—a 6'4" swingman out of Durham North Carolina--Jacob Pullen--a 6'1" point guard from Proviso East High School—and Fred Brown, a 6'2" shooting guard from West Palm Beach Florida. The 2007 class was so strong that both recruiting services from rivals.com and scout.com rated it the best in the country.
Huggins's first season at Kansas State was viewed with cautious optimism from the media and fans. Kansas State had returned 4 of their top 5 scorers including 2nd team All-Big 12 Conference member Cartier Martin and Honorable All-Big 12 member David Hoskins. The 2005-06 team had been involved in many close games, going 7–9 in games decided by 5 points or less during the season. The Wildcats were picked to finish as high as 5th in the Big 12, which showed the confidence Huggins's coaching peers had in his abilities. Prior to that season, Kansas State had never finished higher than 7th place in the Big 12. The early part of the season got off to a rocky start as the Wildcats started the year 4–3 which included embarrassing losses to the New Mexico Lobos and California Golden Bears by a combined 54 points. The Wildcats would benefit from the eligibility of Bill Walker and run of six straight wins including a tournament victory in the Las Vegas Holiday Classic. The Wildcats would soon hit another rough patch as they lost three straight games to Xavier, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. Even more damaging was the loss of star freshman Bill Walker when he tore his ACL five minutes into a 69–65 loss to Texas A&M. After the Walker injury the Wildcats seniors Martin, Lance Harris and Akeem Wright stepped up their game and led Kansas State to a 7-game winning streak which included a win over the ranked Texas Longhorns in Austin that broke a 22-game Texas home winning streak. The 2nd half of Big 12 play saw the Wildcats go 4–4 including a pair of losses to its in-state rival the Kansas Jayhawks. Kansas State ended the Big 12 season in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament losing to Kansas for a third time, but did pick up a crucial 66–45 win over Texas Tech. Despite this win, the Wildcats were left out of the NCAA tournament for the 11th consecutive year. Kansas State felt particularly snubbed due to the fact it was the first major-conference team not to make the NCAA tournament after winning 20 games overall and 10 games in conference. The Wildcats settled on an NIT bid and went 1–1 beating Vermont and losing to DePaul. Kansas State ended the season 23–12 (10–6)--the most victories from a Wildcat team since 1987–1988, a year that saw them lose to the Kansas Jayhawks in the Elite Eight of the 1988 NCAA Tournament.
On April 5, 2007, Huggins announced that he had accepted the position of head coach at his alma mater, West Virginia University. Huggins' former employer Kansas State University offered to match the offer from West Virginia University plus some additional money. The WVU contract has been valued at five million over five years, with an $800,000 base salary in the first year. He has been quoted as saying "There are incredible teams in the Big East and I’m so proud to represent this state and this wonderful University." Coach Huggins succeeded John Beilein who is currently the head coach of the University of Michigan.
Only 9 games into the 2007–2008 season, the Mountaineers entered the AP Top 25 poll carrying a #24 ranking with an 8–1 record. On December 22, 2007 Huggins achieved his 600th victory as a head coach in a road game at Canisius. On January 15, 2008, it was announced that Huggins let West Virginia backup quarterback on the football team, Jarrett Brown, to join the basketball team. Head coach of the football program, Bill Stewart, talked to Huggins and had no problem with Brown joining the basketball team. Terrelle Pryor, the #1 football recruit and a basketball recruit who was interested in West Virginia under former head football coach Rich Rodriguez, announced he was interested in the school again due to Brown being allowed to play both sports, which he stated he wanted to do at the collegiate level.
The Mountaineers finished the year with an 83–74 overtime victory over St. John's, then opened the Big East Tournament with a 58–53 victory over Providence. In the second round of the tourney, the Mountaineers upset the #15-ranked Connecticut Huskies, 78–72. Joe Alexander contributed with a career-high 34 points and 7 rebounds. The Mountaineers then, however, lost to the #9 Georgetown Hoyas, 55–72, in the tourney semifinals.
The showing by WVU in the Big East tourney propelled them into the West region of the NCAA Tournament as a #7-seed. The Mountaineers defeated Arizona in the first round 75–65 and defeated #2-Seed Duke 73–67 to move into the Sweet Sixteen giving Huggins his first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 2001 when he coached at Cincinnati. In the Sweet 16 matchup against #3-seed Xavier, the Mountaineers rallied from an 18-point deficit early in the game to tie the game 64–64 and send it into overtime. However, the Xavier Musketeers pulled out the victory, 79–75, with two 3-pointers in the last 1:18 of the ballgame. West Virginia finished the season ranked in the top 25 at #17.
At the end of the season, Huggins signed an 11-year contract extension that would keep him coaching at West Virginia until the age of 65. The contract will pay Huggins $1.5 million a year, as opposed to the $800,000 paid to him in his first season at WVU.
On May 18, before the season even began, Bob Huggins' finished out his recruiting class with the signing of prep star small forward, Devin Ebanks. The #13-ranked prospect was a signer with Indiana before decomitting and looking at Memphis, Texas, Rutgers and WVU. Ebanks was the last addition to the freshman class that included #11-power forward Kevin Jones, #34-power forward Roscoe Davis and #26-point guard Darryl Bryant.
West Virginia began the 2008–09 season projected to finish 9th in the Big East under Huggins. However, they began the season 4–0, led by senior Alex Ruoff, junior Da'Sean Butler and a freshman class highlighted by Devin Ebanks and Darryl Bryant. They lost the Las Vegas Invitational Tournament Championship Game to Kentucky 54–43, but then bounced back with two wins to move to 6–1. However, they lost a last-second game to #22 Davidson and Stephen Curry in Madison Square Garden, 68–65.
Following the loss, WVU posted five straight victories; ending at the beginning of 2009. This streak included a 76–48 win over #13 Ohio State in Columbus, snapping the Buckeyes' nation-long 14-game win streak and handing OSU their biggest home loss since 1998. However, the streak ended in a 61-55 loss to #5 Connecticut which was followed by a 75-53 loss to #15 Marquette. The Mountaineers bounced back with a three game win streak that included a 75–58 victory over #14 Georgetown in D.C. However, the streak ended in the 79–67 loss to #4 Pittsburgh in the Backyard Brawl. WVU defeated St. John's, but then lost to #7 Louisville and #20 Syracuse back-to-back. The Mountaineers ended the losing streak with a 86-59 win over Providence, but then lost to #4 Pitt for the second time.
West Virginia followed the loss to Pitt with a 93–72 victory over #13 Villanova, featuring Da'Sean Butler's career-high 43 point performance. The Mountaineers then defeated Notre Dame men's basketball and Rutgers before losing to Cincinnati 70–59 in Huggins' return to Cincinnati. The Mountaineers bounced back with consecutive wins against USF and DePaul, but lost to #6 Louisville 62–59 in Morgantown while hosting College GameDay.
West Virginia earned a first round bye in the Big East Tournament, and opened the second round of play with a 74–62 victory over Notre Dame. In the quarterfinals round, West Virginia defeated #2 Pittsburgh 74–60, but lost to Syracuse in overtime 74–69. Syracuse was fresh off the heels of a six overtime victory against Connecticut, the longest game in Big East history. WVU earned a #6 seed in the NCAA tournament and played their first round game against the #11 seed Dayton Flyers. The season ended with a 68–60 loss to the Flyers.
Final Four appearance. Big east Championship.
On December 22nd, 2011, Huggins reached his 700th career victory by defeating Missouri State, making him one of 4 active coaches in Division I college basketball to have earned more than 700 wins.
Huggins signed three No. 1-rated junior college players and five McDonald’s All-Americans to Cincinnati, while six of his last nine recruiting classes ranked among the nation’s Top 10. His 2007 recruiting class at Kansas State was ranked No. 1 in the country by several outlets, Rivals.com, Scout.com and Sports Illustrated. Huggins' 2007–2008 recruiting class at West Virginia featured Devin Ebanks, Kevin Jones, and Darryl "Truck" Bryant, who all contributed for the 2008-2009 season as true freshman. Scout.com is reporting that Huggins succeeded in recruiting 4 of the nation's Top 100 players for the 2008-2009 season.
Head coaching record
|Walsh (Mid-Ohio Conference, now Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) (1980–1983)|
|Akron (Ohio Valley Conference/Independent) (1984–1989)|
|1985–1986||Akron||22–8||10–4||T–1st||NCAA First Round|
|Akron:||97–46 (.678)||25–17 (.595)|
|Cincinnati (Metro Conference) (1989–1991)|
|1989–1990||Cincinnati||20–14||9–5||2nd||NIT Second Round|
|1990–1991||Cincinnati||18–12||8–6||3rd||NIT Second Round|
|Cincinnati (Great Midwest Conference) (1991–1995)|
|1991–1992||Cincinnati||29–5||8–2||T–1st||NCAA Final Four|
|1992–1993||Cincinnati||27–5||8–2||1st||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1993–1994||Cincinnati||22–10||7–5||4th||NCAA First Round|
|1994–1995||Cincinnati||23–11||7–5||3rd||NCAA Second Round|
|Cincinnati (Conference USA) (1995–2005)|
|1995–1996||Cincinnati||28–5||11–3||1st||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1996–1997||Cincinnati||26–8||14–2||1st||NCAA Second Round|
|1997–1998||Cincinnati||27–6||12–4||1st||NCAA Second Round|
|1998–1999||Cincinnati||27–6||12–4||1st (American)||NCAA Second Round|
|1999–2000||Cincinnati||29–4||16–0||1st (American)||NCAA Second Round|
|2000–2001||Cincinnati||25–10||11–5||1st (American)||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|2001–2002||Cincinnati||31–4||14–2||1st (American)||NCAA Second Round|
|2002–2003||Cincinnati||17–12||9–7||T–4th||NCAA First Round|
|2003–2004||Cincinnati||25–7||12–4||T–1st||NCAA Second Round|
|2004–2005||Cincinnati||25–8||12–4||T–2nd||NCAA Second Round|
|Cincinnati:||398–128 (.757)||170-60 (.739)|
|Kansas State (Big 12 Conference) (2006–2007)|
|2006–2007||Kansas State||23–12||10–6||4th||NIT Second Round|
|Kansas State:||23–12 (.657)||10–6 (.625)|
|West Virginia (Big East Conference) (2007–2012)|
|2007–2008||West Virginia||26–11||11–7||T–5th||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|2008–2009||West Virginia||23–12||10–8||T–7th||NCAA First Round|
|2009–2010||West Virginia||31–7||13–5||T–2nd||NCAA Final Four|
|2010–2011||West Virginia||21–12||11–7||T–6th||NCAA Third Round|
|2011–2012||West Virginia||19–14||9–9||8th||NCAA Second Round|
|West Virginia (Big 12 Conference) (2012–present)|
|West Virginia:||130–67 (.660)||55–34 (.618)|
National champion Conference regular season champion Conference tournament champion
- Reilly, Rick (2010-03-30). "Mazzulla reveals a huggable Huggins". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2011-03-17.
- SULLIVAN: Huggins' 2 choices: Go home, stay home
- ESPN.com - Report: Huggins leaving K-State for WVU
- Huggins achieved perfection in '72
- MSNsportsNET.Com - West Virginia University Mountaineers
- Rozin, Skip (March 30, 2006). "The Basketball Coach Vs. the College President". The Wall Street Journal.
- Text of UC's ultimatum to Huggins
- Correspondence between Richard Katz and UC
- Huggins Isn't Quite Finished at UC from WLWT
- "Huggins accepts Kansas State job", ESPN.com, Andy Katz, March 23, 2006.
- "Huggins introductory press conference"
- "Before Manhattan, Huggins was building a team of his own"
- "Blue-chip recruits will follow Huggins, wherever he ends up"
- "Blake Young recruiting profile"
- "2007 recruit rankings"
- "Wildcats have top recruiting class"
- "Scout.com recruiting rankings"
- "Preseason big 12 poll"
- The Times West Virginian - COLUMN: Pryor gets some food for thought
- WVU's Huggins signs 11-year deal - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
- Scout.com: Men's Basketball Recruiting
- Scout.com: Men's Basketball Recruiting