MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — After 40 seasons as a head basketball coach, Bob Huggins’ resume speaks for itself.
He’s a winner of 911 career games, ranking fourth all-time among Division I men’s basketball coaches. He has led two programs to Final Fours, and he and Roy Williams are the only two Division I coaches to win more than 300 games at two schools. He’s also a candidate for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame once again.
Youngstown State head coach Jerrod Calhoun, a former WVU assistant on Huggins’ 2010 Final Four team, thinks it’s time to honor all that Huggins has achieved appropriately.
That ought to be done with more than just a hall of fame induction, he said.
“We got the Jerry [West] statue and the Hot Rod [Hundley] statue. Let Huggs enjoy it — get that statue up,” Calhoun said. “This guy’s a hall of famer. He definitely should have a statue here soon.”
Huggins’ Mountaineers defeated Calhoun’s Penguins by 30 points Wednesday night. Huggins, who tends not to dwell on his career accomplishments, joked afterward about the idea of a statue in his likeness outside the Coliseum.
“It’s a nice thing,” Huggins said. “They probably should do a statue of me, but it probably ought to be about three inches tall. Then it wouldn’t get in Jerry and Rod’s way.”
But joking aside, the argument for Huggins’ legacy stretches far beyond his place on the all-time wins list. His coaching tree — former assistants and players who have gone on to achieve success as head coaches — continues to grow and become more noteworthy.
Both South Carolina coach Frank Martin and UCLA coach Mick Cronin have reached Final Fours. Martin took the Gamecocks to the national semis in 2017, while Cronin went from the First Four to the Final Four last March with the Bruins. The two coaches each served as Huggins’ assistants at Cincinnati.
Andy Kennedy, another former Bearcats assistant, is enjoying success at UAB, and gave Huggins and the Mountaineers a battle over the weekend in Alabama.
As for the WVU connections, Calhoun has led Youngstown State to consecutive winning seasons after reaching the Division II national championship game with Fairmont State in 2017, and former Mountaineer player Darris Nichols is now the head coach at Radford.
“His coaching tree is really, really good,” Calhoun said. “There’s a lot of coaches that have gotten guys or helped assistant coaches leave the program and get jobs, but there hasn’t been one guy under Huggs’ tree that has went into a Division I head job and not won — and won at a high level.”
At age 68, Huggins days as a head basketball coach may end soon. While it’s unclear exactly when the fourth-winningest coach of all-time will retire, Calhoun thinks fans — and even opposing coaches — ought to cherish whatever is left of his career.
“We’re all gonna miss him. The reality is, how many more years he does this, we all need to enjoy it,” Calhoun said. “It’s my favorite team outside the Penguins. We need to embrace however many years he has left, and I hope like hell this team makes a run and he just keeps winning, because they’re relentless. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve taken from him. You’ve got to be relentless in what you do each day.”
Huggins needs just 10 more wins to pass Jim Calhoun for third place all-time.