Pete TamelESPN4 minute read
Bob Huggins has stepped down as West Virginia’s men’s basketball coach after being arrested Friday night on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Professor Huggins announced his resignation in a statement released Saturday night, in which he said, “My recent actions do not represent the University’s values or the leadership expected of this role… I let myself down,” he said. ”
Huggins’ resignation at 69 could mark the end of a Hall of Fame career for one of the sport’s most successful and divisive coaches. Huggins has won 935 college basketball games, 26 in the NCAA Tournament, and two appearances in the Final Four. He went 345-203 in 16 seasons at WVU. However, his final months at his alma mater were embroiled in great controversy, and there was no way for him to continue his teaching there. In his statement, Huggins said he will focus on his health and his family.
“I take sole responsibility for my actions, and I sincerely apologize to university officials, particularly the student-athletes, coaches and staff involved in the program,” Huggins said in a statement.
A source told ESPN’s Jeff Borzero that Huggins informed the team of his decision late Saturday, shortly after he informed the college of his resignation.
West Virginia will conduct a nationwide search for the school’s next coach, but internal candidates will also be considered, according to people familiar with the matter. With Huggins’ departure, the current roster is in a dilemma as they hired the transfer portal class, considered the best talent in the country.
This decision gives these players the possibility to go to another school. WVU Athletic Director Len Baker’s biggest ally in his quest may be the same NIL financial opportunity from Country Road Collective that has allowed WVU to attract such a strong transfer class. This is because coaches are increasingly prioritizing schools with NIL infrastructure to consistently assemble high-end rosters. . Huggins was arrested in Pittsburgh shortly before 8:30 p.m. Friday after police witnessed a black SUV obstructing traffic. The vehicle had a “flat and shredded tire” and the driver’s side door was open.
After instructing the alleged driver of Huggins, of Morgantown, West Virginia, to move the vehicle off the road, officers found Huggins struggling to maneuver the SUV and pulled over. rice field. Officers questioned Huggins, thought he was intoxicated, and asked for an on-site sobriety test, which Huggins failed.
A breath test showed Huggins had a blood alcohol level of 0.21%, more than double the Pennsylvania legal limit of 0.08%, according to the police report. A blood sample was also taken at the hospital prior to Huggins’ release.
The arrest came just six weeks after Huggins made an anti-gay slur in an interview with a Cincinnati radio station.
There were already signs that the 2023-24 season could be Huggins’ final season. In addition to receiving a $1 million pay cut and a three-game suspension for using slander, Huggins was given a contract that was effectively only guaranteed for one year.
A Morgantown native, Huggins played for the Mountaineers in college, coached at his alma mater since 2007, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September. He led the Mountaineers to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 2010 Final Four. Huggins led Cincinnati to 14 straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 1992 to 2005 before spending a season at Kansas State.
In a statement, the state of West Virginia said it supported Huggins’ decision to step down “so he can focus on his health and family.”
“On behalf of West Virginia University, I would like to thank him for his contributions to the university, community and state,” the statement read. “During his time as a student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach, Coach Huggins was dedicated to his players, student organizations, fans and alumni, and all of West Virginia. Always part of our history.”
Going forward, our focus will be on supporting student-athletes in our men’s basketball program and establishing program leadership. ”
Huggins was convicted of DUI in 2004 while in Cincinnati. As a result of appealing for a bye, he was suspended from school for about two months and ordered to rehabilitate. However, the conviction led to a confrontation with then-college president Nancy Zinfer, which ultimately resulted in Huggins resigning as Bearcats coach the following year.
ESPN staff writer Jeff Borzero and The Associated Press contributed to this report.