On April 6, 2007, Bob Huggins came home.
“It’s great to be home,” Huggins said in his introductory press conference after being hired by West Virginia University.
In the first five words of his press conference, Huggins had already mentioned how close the state of West Virginia is to him. From sitting on his grandfather’s lap to listen to the games on the radio to playing three seasons for the Mountaineers, Huggins has always called Morgantown, West Virginia home.
Within three years of being hired, Huggins—with tears in his eyes—was speaking to reporter Doris Burke with ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ playing out of the speakers in Madison Square Garden after the 2010 Big East Conference Tournament Championship.
“This is very special for me because it’s West Virginia,” Huggins said.
The former player for the Mountaineers then proceeded to coach his alma mater to their first final four appearance since 1959. Huggins was proud to put the state of West Virginia on the map.
Fast-forward 11 years later and Huggins is still keeping West Virginia basketball relevant. Huggins will enter his 15th season at the helm at West Virginia and has built a great resume with a final four, 4-Sweet 16’s and 10-NCAA Tournament appearances.
Huggins has been able to claim developing NBA talent such as Jevon Carter, Miles McBride, Kevin Jones, Devin Ebanks and Joe Alexander, while also developing long international playing careers like Da’Sean Butler, Juwan Staten, Tarik Phillip, John Flowers and many more.
Oh, yeah, to top it off, Huggins recently became the sixth-most winningest Division I men’s basketball coach in March, winning his 900th game.
There’s just one more thing left that Huggins wants to check off his list: to win a national championship for the state of West Virginia.
“I love this university, this university has been great to me,” Huggins said. “Would I like to go win a national championship for the people in this state? There’s nothing I want to do more than win a national championship for the people in this state.”
Huggins also has a plan from former assistant Jerrod Calhoun if he can get West Virginia a national championship.
“What we need to do is if we need to get a bus and just travel around the state with the national championship trophy and wouldn’t it be great to have Tony Caridi on the radio say, ‘Hey, listen, we are going to be in Jane Lew in about fifteen minutes. If anyone wants to come touch the trophy, meet at the hotdog shop.’ Huggins said.
“How great would that be? For the state that gets picked on to be the best in the United States,” Huggins added.
From attending games, to selling merchandise, Huggins has always relied on the great people of West Virginia to step up and show their love. When WVU and Nike reached an endorsement agreement, the Nike representatives did not believe Huggins when he told them that they would sell a lot of gear here. They bought into Huggins’ pitch and they were blown away.
“You can’t go to any little town in this state, any big town, anywhere you go and not see somebody wearing a flying WV,” Huggins said. “That’s what you’ve got to understand about the people in this state. They care man.”
On Friday, the future Hall of Fame coach backed up his statements about loving the university and the state by agreeing to a contract extension, first reported by Mike Casazza of 247Sports. Huggins will remain the head coach of the Mountaineers through the 2023-24 season, with the option of having some role within the basketball program until 2027.
“Everybody says, ‘What’s the greatest thing about West Virginia?’ To me, it’s really simple. They care,” Huggins said. “They care and they love their Mountaineers.”