Huggins’ hiccup and baseball
by Jim Buzzerd
West Virginia University head basketball coach Bob Huggins and his staff have been making news this spring for being among the best in the country at mining talent out of the transfer portal. Last Monday Huggins made a remark on a Cincinnati radio show that, by some accounts, nearly cost him his job.
As most of you know, Huggins had a 16 season career at Cincinnati, where he was 399-127, prior to coming to his Alma Mater in 2007. On the show Huggins was asked about crosstown rival Xavier. Huggins was asked during the interview if he poached any Xavier players to come to West Virginia. Huggins responded by saying, “Any school that can throw rubber penises on the floor and then say they didn’t do it, my God they can get away with anything.”
Huggins later added, “What it was all those f – – -, those Catholic f – – -.” This was in the morning and when word got out media outlets were calling for Huggins to be fired. LGBTQ groups were demanding it. When I first received the news, I just thought, “How could he be so stupid?”
I really didn’t think it was something that would lead to a firing. Then I read some opinions from a few writers I read on a regular basis. Every single one of them was saying he should be fired. The more I read, the more I had to agree with their assessment. Even so, I didn’t want to see it end like this. And it didn’t end. One would assume President Gordon Gee wanted to pull the trigger. Not sure about new athletic director Wren Baker, but I figure Huggins has clout with some of the Board of Governors that may well have saved him.
Wednesday WVU announced Huggins would return after a three game suspension and forfeiting $1 million of his $4.2 million salary. Huggins will be required to meet with LGBTQ+ leaders from across West Virginia with guidance from the leadership of WVU’s LGBTQ+ Center. The goal is to partner with ACLU-WV, Fairness WV, Morgantown Pride and other organizations to elevate conversation regarding issues affecting West Virginia. Through those discussions, Huggins is expected to engage in additional opportunities to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.
On a more positive note, the Mountaineer baseball team is on the verge of winning the regular season Big 12 title after winning two of three from Texas Tech last weekend. That leaves the Mountaineers with a 39-13 overall record and 15-6 in the Big 12. A three game series at Texas will conclude the regular season beginning this Thursday night at 7:30. One win will clinch the championship. The Mountaineers will remain in Texas until the start of The Big 12 Championship tournament beginning next Wednesday in Arlington, Texas.
Following last week’s 3-1 effort Monday’s college baseball rankings had the Mountaineers in rarified air. Of six polls, WVU was sixth in two, seventh in two, eight in one and 12th in the sixth. That puts WVU in the driver’s seat to host a first round quad in the NCAA tournament.