Bob Huggins Addresses ALMBS Citizens
Bob Huggins, an Ohio Boys State Alum at West Virginia University has a proven success as a program builder, recruiter and game strategist who has won 710 games as a collegiate head coach, Bob Huggins has directed his alma mater to 120 victories, the 2010 NCAA Final Four, the 2010 Big East Championship and five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances during his first five seasons in Morgantown.
Huggins, a 1977 graduate of West Virginia University, was introduced as WVU’s 21st men’s basketball coach on Good Friday, April 6, 2007.
Huggins, 58, has compiled a 710-267 (.732) record entering his 31st season as a head coach, which includes stints at Walsh College (1980-83), Akron (1984-1989), Cincinnati (1989-2005), Kansas State (2006-07) and West Virginia (2007-present). He ranks third in total victories and 11th in winning percentage among active Division I head coaches.
Huggins’ teams have participated in postseason play in 27 of his 30 seasons, including 20 NCAA tournaments. His squads have won 20 or more games in all but five of his 30 campaigns, including 30 or more three times, and he has averaged 23.8 victories a season.
On Dec. 22, 2011, Huggins became the 20th Division I coach (minimum 10 years coaching in Division I) to reach 700 victories when the Mountaineers defeated Missouri State. Also in 2011-12, the Mountaineers advanced to their fifth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance under Huggins. Kevin Jones became Huggins’ 11th All-American when he was named to the John Wooden All-America team while also being tabbed a second team consensus All-American.
Huggins led the Mountaineers to another NCAA appearance in 2010-11, finishing with a No. 20 ranking in the final AP poll. Huggins became the first WVU coach to win 20 games in each of his first four seasons. The Mountaineers finished with 21 victories, including 11 Big East wins. Along the way, WVU defeated No. 8 Notre Dame, No. 8 Purdue, No. 11 Louisville, No. 13 Georgetown and No. 16 Connecticut. Off the court, for the second year in a row, West Virginia finished ranked in the top 10 percent of all basketball teams in the 2011 NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate (APR).
In 2009-10, Huggins guided West Virginia to one of the most memorable seasons in school history. The Mountaineers reached the NCAA Final Four for the first time since 1959 and won their first Big East Championship. WVU recorded a school record 31 victories and also posted a school-best 13 Big East victories, finishing the season ranked No. 3 in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll. For the third year in a row, Huggins was named state coach of the year by the West Virginia State Sports Writers Association.
Da’Sean Butler, winner of the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, earned first team All-America honors by Basketball Times and the John Wooden All-America team. In June, Butler was the 42nd selection in the second round by the Miami Heat, while Devin Ebanks was taken one pick later by the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Off the court, the WVU men’s basketball team ranked in the top 10 percent of all squads in the 2010 NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate (APR). In addition, the Big East awarded WVU the team excellence award for the highest grade point average among Big East men’s basketball teams.
In 2008-09, Huggins led the Mountaineers to 23 victories in his second season at WVU, advancing to the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row. Huggins became the second Mountaineer coach to win 20 games in his first two seasons in Morgantown. The Mountaineers reached the semifinals of the Big East Championship for the second year in a row. After the season, Huggins was named state coach of the year by the West Virginia State Sports Writers Association, his second-consecutive honor.
Butler was named to the All-Big East Second Team, Ebanks was tabbed to the All-Big East Rookie Team and All-Big East Tournament Team and Alex Ruoff was named honorable mention all-conference. Ruoff was named a first team Academic All-American by CoSIDA, the Big East Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Big East Sport Excellence award winner.
In his first season at WVU, Huggins took the Mountaineers to the NCAA Sweet 16, becoming the first Mountaineer coach to take a team that far in NCAA tournament play in his first season. With 26 victories, he won more games in his first year than any other coach in WVU history. West Virginia tied the school record for Big East victories with 11. After finishing the season with a No. 17 ranking, Huggins was named state coach of the year by the W.Va. State Sportswriters Association.
Following Huggins’ first season at WVU, Huggins signed a 10-year contract extension that will keep the veteran coach at his alma mater until his 65th birthday.
Huggins also had his sixth first round NBA draft pick and fourth lottery pick when WVU’s Joe Alexander was selected as the eighth pick by the Milwaukee Bucks. Alexander’s first-round selection was WVU’s highest NBA pick since Ron Williams went in the first round of the 1968 NBA Draft.
Huggins has coached 18 NBA draft selections as well as 11 All-Americans. He has also guided 56 all-conference selections in Division I. Since Huggins has been at WVU, three players earned All-Big East First Team honors -- Jones (2012), Butler (2010) and Alexander (2008). Other Big East honorees were Butler (second team, 2009), Darryl Bryant (third team, 2012), Ebanks (third team, 2010) Ruoff (honorable mention, 2009) and Jones (honorable mention, 2011).
Alexander was just one of four Huggins’ players to earn major awards in 2008. Ruoff was named a third-team Academic All-American by ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA, one of just 15 players named nationally and the only student-athlete from the Big East. Darris Nichols earned the Big East Sportsmanship Award, while Ted Talkington was named the Big East Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Ruoff also earned the Big East Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award.
On Dec. 22, 2007, Huggins became the 29th Division I coach (minimum 10 years coaching in Division I) to reach 600 victories when the Mountaineers won at Canisius.