A New Era Is Set to Get Underway Following Retirement of Bob Huggins
The feeling was the end of Hall of Fame Bob Huggins was coming sooner rather than later. Sooner is the key word when it comes to the Bob Huggins retirement.
Not long after drawing criticism for using a homophobic slur and other controversial comments on the radio on the Bill Cunningham Show in Cincinnati.
Huggins survived after a backlash that called for his termination as West Virginia’s head coach. The end came after Huggins was driving while under the influence of alcohol in Pittsburgh earlier this month.
His blood alcohol level was .21, more than twice the legal limit. The next day, Huggins announced his resignation and retirement from coaching in a statement.
Huggins is one of two Division I men’s coaches to record at least 300 wins at two different programs. He won 11 regular-season conference titles and nine conference titles during his coaching career and won more than 900 career games. In the last two years, Huggins joins Roy Williams, career wins leader Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim and Jay Wright as recent college basketball coaches to retire.
When looking at the college basketball odds, West Virginia (+4000) is tied for 20th in the odds to win the 2023-24 national title.
Huggins Is in Select Company
His off-the-field issues will tarnish how he is viewed now that his coaching days are over. However, it is hard to argue with what Huggins did as a collegiate head coach even as news of the Bob Huggins retirement is still being absorbed.
It began at the NAIA level, going 71-26 in three seasons at Walsh. In his final season, Walsh went 34-1 and won NAIA District 22 title.
In 1984, he began a five-year run as the head coach at Akron. After a losing record in his first NCAAF season, Akron had four straight 20-win seasons.
Next up was a 16-year run at Cincinnati that included 14 straight NCAA tournament appearances that began with a trip to the 1992 Final Four.
His first DUI arrest brought an end to his time in Cincinnati. After a year out of coaching, he led Kansas State to a 23-12 record during the 2006-07 season.
What followed was a 16-season stint at West Virginia that included 11 more NCAA tournament appearances. It was a reunion as Huggins ended his collegiate playing career at West Virginia.
Up-And-Down Run With Mountaineers
It wasn’t all easy for Huggins at West Virginia. After winning 101 games in his first four seasons that included another Final Four appearance, the Mountaineers won a total of 30 games in the next two seasons followed by four consecutive seasons with at least 25 wins.
West Virginia was 90-73 over the last five seasons to finish 345-203 under Huggins.
West Virginia lost to Maryland 67-65 in the first round of the 2023 NCAA in what proved to be the final game of Huggins’ career before the Bob Huggins retirement.
What’s Next For the Mountaineers?
This is not the best time to be looking for a new coach.
West Virginia finished eighth in the Big 12 standings with a 7-11 conference record during the 2022-23 season.
Leading scorer Erik Stevenson is a 2023 NBA Draft prospect. Second-leading scorer Kobe Johnson and No. 3 scorer Tre Mitchell are expected to be a part of the 2023-24 Mountaineers.
Joe Toussaint and Seth Wilson are other top returning players. West Virginia did lose Jimmy Bell to Mississippi State. However, Jesse Edwards transferred in from Syracuse, Kerr Kriisa moved from Arizona to West Virginia.
Former Mississippi State guards Omar Silverio and Jose Perez and Montana State forward RaeQuan Battle also committed to play at West Virginia while Huggins was still the coach.
There are restrictions when it comes to transfers and having a coach forced into retirement due to legal issues is not enough for the NCAA to allow players to transfer immediately. The NCAAF players who have not previously transferred could head elsewhere. Of course, many teams are already at their roster limits so that could impact the player movement.
The rules are a little different with graduate transfers so keep an eye on what takes place in the coming weeks and months.
The assistant coaches remaining at West Virginia are Ron Everhart, Josh Eilert and DerMarr Johnson. Everhart has spent 11 seasons on the coaching staff with the Mountaineers. Eilert has 15 years on the staff at West Virginia. Johnson, a former NBA player, was hired earlier this year.Follow us on Twitter
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