Former WVU head coach Bob Huggins has denied writing his resignation statement on the night of June 17. A statement sent out by West Virginia University was signed with Huggins’ name. Huggins also met with his basketball team that night to announce he was gone.
Huggins released the following on Monday night:
“The press has now seen the letter sent by my counsel setting forth my position that I never resigned from my employment as Head Basketball Coach for West Virginia University. My attorney will address the legal issues relating to my purported resignation. I wanted to respond to WVU’s statements and set the record straight on the past two weeks.
Initially, let me say that I am truly sorry for the mistake that I made in Pittsburgh. I have taken responsibility for the mistake and have taken a course to verify that such a mistake will not occur in the future. I voluntarily checked into a world-class rehabilitation center and I intend to remain in the center until I am cleared to return to my active coaching duties.
Due to my focus on the rehabilitation, I have not been in the media or responding to WVU’s statements regarding the incident. I now understand that WVU published a statement purportedly written by me at 10:30 p.m. on June 17, 2023. The WVU statement provides: ‘Today, I have submitted a letter to President Gordon Gee and Vice President and Director of Athletics Wren Baker informing them of my resignation and intention to retire as head men’s basketball coach at West Virginia University effective immediately.’ I did not draft or review WVU’s statement.
This false statement was sent under my name, but no signature is included. In addition, the false, unsigned statement, was accompanied by a joint statement from the President and Athletics Director that clearly implied that they had received this purported resignation letter from me:
‘Coach Huggins informed us of his intent to retire and has submitted his letter of resignation, and we have accepted it in light of recent events. We support his decision so that he can focus on his health and family.’
I am employed by WVU pursuant to an Employment Agreement. I never submitted the notice required under the Employment Agreement to voluntarily resign. I let WVU know that I was seeking rehabilitation. However, WVU was not willing to speak with me about the Pittsburgh event nor to provide me time to obtain counsel to review my Employment Agreement. I met with my players on June 17, 2023 and let them know the truth — that I did not know what would happen to me, but that if I was not their coach, I was hoping that I would be replaced by a coach that I recommended to WVU. Most importantly, whether I was staying or not, I was encouraging the players to stay at WVU. My players come first and they needed to hear my support for WVU directly from me.
Now that I have obtained counsel to review the Employment Agreement and have seen WVU’s comments about my current status, it is clear that WVU did not handle the situation appropriately.
More importantly, the basketball program is in need and I have a strong desire to conclude my career as the Head Basketball Coach for the program that I love. I hope to meet with WVU in the near future to resolve this situation.”
Over the weekend, Huggins’ lawyers wrote a letter to WVU demanding a reinstatement or else they will sue.
Huggins was charged of DUI on June 16 before resigning just 24 hours later. This was the second time in weeks that Huggins put negative light on the University after using an anti-gay slur over a Cincinnati radio station back in May.
Huggins appeared in court on Monday. Huggins waived his case at the hearing and set up a formal arraignment, which is now set for Aug. 17 at the Pittsburgh Municipal Court. The hearing is scheduled for 8 a.m.
Huggins won 935 career games spanning five coaching tenures at Walsh College, Akron, Cincinnati, Kansas State, and West Virginia. Huggins returned to his alma mater in 2007, taking the Mountaineers to their second Final Four in school history in 2010. Huggins finishes second in all-time coaching wins at WVU, with 345 wins. Huggins was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2022.
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