Once again, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has made WVU men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins eligible for its next induction class.
It is impossible to deny Huggins’s resume — he has made a pair of Final Fours in 26 NCAA Tournament appearances, he was named the Conference USA Coach of the Decade in 2005, the league coach of the year five times across three conferences, and of course, he is the fourth-winningest coach in Division I basketball with 911 victories — just 10 behind UConn legend Jim Calhoun. In fact, he is the only coach in the top eight to not earn a spot in the Hall yet.
For those around him, it’s about time he made it in. In fact, if you ask former assistant and current Youngstown State head coach Jerrod Calhoun, he should have a statue in front of the WVU Coliseum.
“He’s got almost 1,000 wins and he’s not in the Hall of Fame,” Calhoun said after his Penguins fell to Huggins’s Mountaineers 82-52. “You know, that bothers I think a lot of us, I know his players. I read all that. He needs to be in there.”
Calhoun is far from the only person in the Huggins orbit that feels this way. Former teammate and GBN hoops analyst Warren Baker feels rather strongly about his infamous snubs over the years, and he says he’s prepared to take more active measures should the Hall snub him again.
“I’ve made my comments about the Hall of Fame deal, that if he doesn’t get in I’m gonna rent a bus and take a bunch of people to Springfield,” Baker joked on this week’s upcoming episode of the WVU Coach’s Combo Show.
Kidding aside, Baker agrees with Calhoun, and says Huggins has most likely earned his place.
“I don’t think there’s any question about it,” he said. “I mean, he’s going to be an icon for ever here at this place and I think that would be very, very rewarding, and very deserving.”
His current players, like West Virginia native Jalen Bridges, haven’t witnessed most of their coach’s legacy. For some, it took a while to click that Huggins has been considered one of the greats for a long time.
The relationship he has with his players sort of wears down the aura for them — especially since they are in such close contact with Huggins all the time. Still, as up-front witnesses to his coaching, they agree — it’s time.
“We see him every day basically, so most of the time you’re not even really thinking about that,” Bridges said. “Just having a legendary coach like that, I’m super happy for him that he’s eligible and it’s about time that they got him in there, honestly.”
Like always, though, the ever-humble Huggins showed appreciation for the praise he’s received from Calhoun and the others, but reaffirmed that he’s not concerned with the accolades. Rather, he’s focused on getting a win at Texas on Jan. 1 to open Big 12 play.
In fact, Huggins brought up his father, Ohio coaching legend Charlie Huggins — a recurring theme when the topic of his accomplishments comes up.
“My dad told me some things that actually have stuck with me — there’s not a lot that sticks with me — but he said, ‘Why worry about things I can’t control?’ So why would I spend time worrying about it?” Huggins said. “I mean, I guess guys do, but maybe after you’re retired and you have nothing else to do, you sit around and think about things like that. But hey, it is what it is — it’s a nice thing.”