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Relationships Kept Bob Huggins Coaching in College Basketball

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Kelsie LeRose / WVSN

Throughout Bob Huggins’ storied career that has lasted decades, the Hall of Fame coach has had multiple opportunities to coach in the NBA. For Huggins, he has stayed coaching at the collegiate level because of the relationships that he’s built.

“The opportunity to work with guys, spend time with guys and be part of their maturity is really exciting,” Huggins told the media on Wednesday.

Many head coaches in college basketball have made the jump to the NBA: John Calipari, Rick Pitino, Brad Stevens, PJ Carlesimo, Billy Donovan, Fred Hoiberg, John Beilein, the list goes on. Other than a report in 1994 about Jerry West calling Huggins about the open Los Angeles Lakers job, the now 68-year-old has stayed loyal to college basketball.

“I really thought I could make a much greater impact at the college level than I could in the NBA, and I did.. I had great opportunities for way, way, way more money than what I was making,” Huggins said. “It’s not the same.”

Huggins has been at Walsh, Akron, Cincinnati, Kansas State and West Virginia over his 40-plus years as a head coach. To this day, Huggins has coached the same tough love mentality that his players love him for. Huggins has been more than a coach to some of his guys.

“I’m extremely proud of what I’ve accomplished. I know what my guys think of me, ” Huggins said. “I’ve been blessed. I’ve been blessed to be places and around people who had a great grasp on our business.”

Huggins will enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend in Springfield, Ma. as the third WVU alumni to enter the hall of fame. The first two, Jerry West and Rod Thorn, will present Huggins during his induction on Saturday night. WV Sports Now will bring you coverage of the Hall of Fame weekend.

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