Bob Huggins On Why He Stuck with College Basketball: ‘It Was the Relationships’
West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins will be inducted into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2022. It will be as a college head coach.
But, the 68-year-old head coach received a few feelers from NBA teams over the years, interested in bringing Huggins to professional basketball, especially after the success he had at Cincinnati in the 1990s.
Huggins had some interest. But there’s a good reason why he decided to stay in the college ranks. It had nothing to do with money, he told West Virginia beat reporters during a video call earlier this week.
“I think it was relationships,” Huggins said. “I really thought I could make a much greater impact at the college level than I could in the NBA. And I had great opportunities. I had great opportunities for way, way more money than what I was making or probably what I had ever hoped to make. But it’s not it’s not the same. It’s not. I can walk out of practice and feel like we got something done today and they got better today. I’m not so sure that happens a whole lot in the NBA, and the schedule has a lot to do with that. Don’t get me wrong, they travel a lot and they play a lot of games. The opportunity to work with guys, spend time with guys and just be part of their maturity is really exciting.”
Huggins’ selection was announced in April, after he was was advanced as a finalist for the first time this year.
Huggins is one of the most decorated coaches in college basketball history. Last season, he passed Bob Knight and Roy Williams on the all-time list and now has 916 career victories.
He is one of six Division I coaches to win at least 900 games, along with Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, Bob Knight and Roy Williams. Boeheim is the only other active coach with 900 or more wins.
Entering last season, Huggins was the only of the of six coaches with at least 900 career wins that wasn’t in the Hall of Fame. He is signed with the Mountaineers through after the 2026-27 season.
Huggins took Cincinnati (1992) and West Virginia (2010) to the Final Four in his long coaching career, which started his career at Division III Walsh, where he won 71 games in three seasons from 1980-83. Akron hired him, and in five seasons Huggins won 97 games and took the Zips to the NCAA Tournament.
At Cincinnati, Huggins helmed the program for 17 seasons, won 399 games, and reached the NCAA Tournament 14 games. After a season out of basketball, Huggins took the job at Kansas State in 2006 and led the Wildcats to a 23-win season before the West Virginia job opened up and he took it before the 2007-08 season.
Huggins has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from WVU. Huggins and Williams are the only two coaches to win at least 300 games at two different schools.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.