A Bob Huggins fundraiser in Cincinnati has generated more than $150,000 for the WVU Cancer Institute.
The inaugural Huggins Homecoming featured three events to support the Norma Mae Huggins Endowment Fund, which was established in 2003 after Huggins’ mother died of colon cancer in 2003. A 5k run/walk, post-run gathering and a dinner at Ohio’s original Montgomery Inn raised $150,043 for cancer care and research and netted donations from participants in six states, including West Virginia.
Huggins Homecoming was conceived by Cincinnati-area business owners Pete and Linda Zulia. Pete Zulia is a three-time graduate of WVU and longtime supporter of Coach Huggins. The two men developed a friendship after connecting several years ago at Bob Huggins Basketball Fantasy Camp. When Zulia shared how he lost his father, Simon, to lung cancer over 25 years ago, Huggins encouraged Zulia to make a difference by investing in clinical research.
“I can’t thank Pete and Linda enough for all they’ve done and continue to do for our cause,” Huggins said. “Their vision and commitment to raise funds and awareness to support my mother’s endowment is inspiring. I’m truly grateful for their partnership. Special thanks too to Frank DeJulius and Fleet Feet Cincinnati for leading the way on our first-ever charity 5K. Together, we are making great things happen, and I’m already looking forward to next year.”
During the event, Huggins, who coached at Cincinnati from 1989-2005, was reunited with some of his former Bearcat players, including Erik Martin, a current member of Huggins’ coaching staff at WVU.