At West Virginia
A proven success as a program builder, recruiter and game strategist who has won 791 games as a collegiate head coach, Bob Huggins has directed his alma mater to 201 victories, the 2010 NCAA Final Four, the 2010 Big East Championship and eight postseason appearances, including seven NCAA Tournaments, during his nine seasons in Morgantown.
Huggins, a 1977 graduate of West Virginia University, was introduced as WVU’s 21st men’s basketball coach on Good Friday, April 6, 2007.
Huggins has compiled a 791-321 (.710) record entering his 35th season as a head coach, which includes stints at Walsh College (1980-83), Akron (1984-1989), Cincinnati (1989-2005), Kansas State (2006-07) and West Virginia (2007-present). He ranks third in total victories among active Division I head coaches and has the ninth-most wins in college basketball history among Division I head coaches.
Huggins’ teams have participated in postseason play in 30 of his 34 seasons, including 22 NCAA Tournaments. His squads have won 20 or more games in all but seven of his 34 campaigns, including 30 or more three times, and he has averaged 23.7 victories a season.
In November 2012, Huggins signed an amended employment agreement, extending his employment to the year 2023.
Last season, Huggins led the Mountaineers to a No. 8 finish in the final Associated Press poll. WVU tied for the fifth-most victories in a season with 26. The Mountaineers finished the regular season with 24 wins, including 13 wins in Big 12 Conference play -- good enough for second-place finishes in the regular season and tournament. WVU defeated No. 1 Kansas, No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 13 Iowa State, No. 15 Baylor, No. 17 Iowa State and No. 19 Baylor during the season. The Mountaineers were ranked for the final 16 weeks in the AP poll.
In 2014-15, Huggins led the Mountaineers to 25 victories and their sixth NCAA Tournament in his eight years in Morgantown, defeating Buffalo and Maryland to reach the NCAA Sweet 16. He was named the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year, the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year and the West Virginia State Sports Writers Association Coach of the Year. Juwan Staten earned All-Big 12 Conference First Team honors for the second year in a row and was named to the Lute Olson All-America team. In the final NCAA stats, WVU led the country in steals, steals per game, forced turnovers and offensive rebounds, the first time WVU has ever led the country in the final stats in any category. The Mountaineers defeated No. 8 Kansas, No. 12 Maryland, No. 17 Connecticut, No. 18 Oklahoma and No. 22 Oklahoma State.
On Dec. 22, 2011, Huggins became the 20th Division I coach (minimum 10 years coaching in Division I) to reach 700 victories when the Mountaineers defeated Missouri State. Also in 2011-12, the Mountaineers advanced to their fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance under Huggins. Kevin Jones became Huggins’ 11th All-American when he was named to the John Wooden All-America team while also being tabbed a second team consensus All-American.
Huggins led the Mountaineers to another NCAA appearance in 2010-11, finishing with a No. 20 ranking in the final AP poll. Huggins became the first WVU coach to win 20 games in each of his first four seasons. The Mountaineers finished with 21 victories, including 11 Big East wins. Along the way, WVU defeated No. 8 Notre Dame, No. 8 Purdue, No. 11 Louisville, No. 13 Georgetown and No. 16 Connecticut. Off the court, for the second year in a row, West Virginia finished ranked in the top 10 percent of all basketball teams in the 2011 NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate (APR).
In 2009-10, Huggins guided West Virginia to one of the most memorable seasons in school history. The Mountaineers reached the NCAA Final Four for the first time since 1959 and won their first Big East Championship. WVU recorded a school record 31 victories and also posted a school-best 13 Big East victories, finishing the season ranked No. 3 in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll. For the third year in a row, Huggins was named state coach of the year by the West Virginia State Sports Writers Association.
Da’Sean Butler, winner of the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, earned first team All-America honors by Basketball Times and the John Wooden All-America team. In June, Butler was the 42nd selection in the second round by the Miami Heat, while Devin Ebanks was taken one pick later by the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Off the court, the WVU men’s basketball team ranked in the top 10 percent of all squads in the 2010 NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate (APR). In addition, the Big East awarded WVU the team excellence award for the highest grade point average among Big East men’s basketball teams.
In 2008-09, Huggins led the Mountaineers to 23 victories in his second season at WVU, advancing to the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row. Huggins became the second Mountaineer coach to win 20 games in his first two seasons in Morgantown. The Mountaineers reached the semifinals of the Big East Championship for the second year in a row. After the season, Huggins was named state coach of the year by the West Virginia State Sports Writers Association, his second-consecutive honor.
Butler was named to the All-Big East Second Team, Ebanks was tabbed to the All-Big East Rookie Team and All-Big East Tournament Team and Alex Ruoff was named honorable mention all-conference. Ruoff was named a first team Academic All-American by CoSIDA, the Big East Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Big East Sport Excellence award winner.
In his first season at WVU, Huggins took the Mountaineers to the NCAA Sweet 16, becoming the first Mountaineer coach to take a team that far in NCAA Tournament play in his first season. With 26 victories, he won more games in his first year than any other coach in WVU history. West Virginia tied the school record for Big East victories with 11. After finishing the season with a No. 17 ranking, Huggins was named state coach of the year by the W.Va. State Sportswriters Association.
Huggins also had his sixth first round NBA draft pick and fourth lottery pick when WVU’s Joe Alexander was selected as the eighth pick by the Milwaukee Bucks. Alexander’s first-round selection was WVU’s highest NBA pick since Ron Williams went in the first round of the 1968 NBA Draft.
Huggins has coached 18 NBA draft selections as well as 12 All-Americans. He has also guided 64 all-conference selections in Division I. Since Huggins has been at WVU, three players earned All-Big East First Team honors -- Jones (2012), Butler (2010) and Alexander (2008) – and Juwan Staten (2014 and 2015) garnered All-Big 12 First Team honors. Other Big East honorees were Butler (second team, 2009), Darryl Bryant (third team, 2012), Ebanks (third team, 2010) Ruoff (honorable mention, 2009) and Jones (honorable mention, 2011). Jaysean Paige and Devin Williams earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors in 2016. Deniz Kilicli (2013), Eron Harris (2013, 2014) and Williams (2015) earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors.
Alexander was just one of four Huggins’ players to earn major awards in 2008. Ruoff was named a third-team Academic All-American by ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA, one of just 15 players named nationally and the only student-athlete from the Big East. Darris Nichols earned the Big East Sportsmanship Award, while Ted Talkington was named the Big East Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Ruoff also earned the Big East Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award.
On Dec. 22, 2007, Huggins became the 29th Division I coach (minimum 10 years coaching in Division I) to reach 600 victories when the Mountaineers won at Canisius.
At Kansas State
In 2006-07, Huggins led Kansas State to 23 wins, the Wildcats’ most wins in 19 years. K-State broke an eight-year postseason drought when Huggins led the Wildcats to the NIT second round. The Wildcats also collected 10 Big 12 wins for the first time since the league’s inception in 1997. Huggins earned USBWA District VI Coach of the Year honors as well as Big 12 Coach of the Year by the Kansas City Star.
Huggins elevated the Cincinnati program to among the nation’s elite. He registered a 399-127 record (.759) during his tenure, making him the winningest coach in terms of victories and percentage in the school’s rich basketball history. The Bearcats advanced to postseason play in each of his 16 seasons, reaching the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament three times and in 1992, appearing in the Final Four. Huggins directed Cincinnati to 10 conference regular season titles and eight league tournament titles.
Huggins directed the Bearcats to successive finishes in the Final Four and Elite Eight. Over the ensuing seasons, he developed young and inexperienced squads with as many as three freshmen starters into squads that captured two more league titles and made another pair of NCAA appearances. Huggins surprised the basketball world in 1998 by directing a team that had only one returning starter to a 27-6 record, conference regular season and tournament titles, a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a Top 10 finish in the polls. Huggins’ 2002 team, unranked when the season began, posted a 31-4 record, setting a Cincinnati mark for victories.
Huggins has also directed star-studded teams, while developing the individual talents of players such as consensus All-Americans Danny Fortson, Kenyon Martin and Steve Logan, to a succession of conference championships and NCAA tournament runs.
Huggins has achieved similar success on the recruiting trails. He signed three No. 1-rated junior college players and five McDonald’s All-Americans to Cincinnati, while six of his last nine recruiting classes ranked among the nation’s Top 10. His 2007 recruiting class at Kansas State was ranked No. 1 in the country by several outlets, Rivals.com, Scout.com and Sports Illustrated. Huggins’ first West Virginia recruiting class earned a Top 10 ranking by several scouting services.
Huggins earned the Ray Meyer Award as the Conference USA Coach of the Year a record three times (1998, 1999 and 2000), and was a unanimous choice as the Conference USA Coach of the Decade. He was selected as national coach of the year by ESPN.com in 2002. He was named co-national coach of the year by The Sporting News in 2005 and was Basketball Times’ National Coach of the Year in 1998. He earned national coach of the year recognition from Hoop Scoop in 1992 and Playboy in 1993.
In 2002, Huggins suffered a major heart attack on the last Saturday of September but was present for the team’s first practice two weeks later and coached the Bearcats with the same intensity that has become his trademark. The 2003-04 season was business as usual for Huggins, who piloted the Bearcats to Conference USA regular season and tournament titles and an NCAA tourney berth while amassing a 25-7 record.
Prior to Cincinnati
Huggins earned his first head coaching assignment at Walsh College (now University), an NAIA school in North Canton, Ohio, in 1980 at the age of 27. A program with just two winning seasons in the previous 17 years, Huggins transformed the Cavalier program into one of the best in the NAIA ranks in just three short seasons. He compiled a 71-26 record (.732) from 1980 to 1983, twice guiding the team to the postseason, including their first-ever NAIA national tournament appearance.
After coaching the team to 14 victories in his first season, Huggins helped produce a 23-9 record in his sophomore campaign and an NAIA district playoff appearance in 1981-82, which includes the school’s first Mid-Ohio championship. His final team finished the regular season with a 30-0 record and a No. 2 national ranking before winning four more games to qualify for the program’s first-ever NAIA national tournament. The Cavaliers lost in the national tournament to Salem College, 65-63, to end the nation’s longest winning streak of 34. Huggins was twice named NAIA District 22 Coach of the Year following the 1982 and 1983 seasons.
After a one-year stint as an assistant coach at Central Florida in 1983-84, Huggins accepted his first Division I head coaching position at Akron in 1984. He quickly resurrected another program that had fallen on difficult times, as he guided the Zips to a 97-46 (.678) overall record and to postseason play in three of his five seasons. The program posted 20 or more wins in a season on four occasions.
After a 12-14 mark in his first season, Huggins led Akron to its first NCAA tournament appearance and conference title at the Division I level in 1986 with a 22-8 record. Winners of the Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament championship, the 15th-seeded Zips lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to fifth-seeded Michigan, 70-64. In guiding the team to its highest win total in 13 seasons, Huggins was named the Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year. He continued his success with the first of three consecutive 21-win seasons in 1987 and an appearance in the first round of the NIT. Huggins capped his five-year tenure at Akron in 1989 by helping the Zips to their second trip to the NIT in 1989 with a 21-8 record.
While at Akron, Huggins coached Brian Roth, who earned All-America honors in 1985, while Eric McLaughlin earned Academic All-America honors in 1989. Three players earned first team all-conference honors during his tenure, including two-time selection and 1986 Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year Marcel Boyce. McLaughlin was also named tournament MVP during the Zips’ run to the Ohio Valley tournament championship in 1986.
After his playing career at West Virginia, Huggins began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at WVU for his college coach, Joedy Gardner, in 1977. He moved to Ohio State the following season to assist head coach Eldon Miller. During his two-year stint from 1978-80, Huggins helped the Buckeyes to a 40-20 (.667) record and a pair of postseason appearances, including the second round of the 1980 NCAA tournament.
Huggins was a three-year all-Ohio selection and the 1972 Ohio Player of the Year while playing for his father, Charles, at Indian Valley South High in Gnadenhutten, Ohio. He first attended Ohio University but transferred to West Virginia after his freshman season.
Huggins was a three-year letterman for the Mountaineers under Gardner from 1975-77. As a senior and tri-captain, he helped the squad to an 18-11 overall record and a tie for the Eastern Collegiate Basketball League (ECBL) Western division title. In addition to helping the team earn its highest win total in nine seasons, he was named MVP after pacing the squad with 3.8 assists per game average.
A two-time Academic All-American, Huggins graduated from West Virginia magna cum laude in 1977 and received his master’s in health administration from WVU in 1978.
Huggins was born in Morgantown on Sept. 21, 1953. He and his wife, June, have two daughters, Jenna Leigh and Jacqueline.