Beleaguered West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins has resigned just hours after being arrested for allegedly drunk driving.
The arrest is the latest incident in which the West Virginia coach has been involved for a long time in recent months. Last month, Huggins was suspended for three games after he used a homophobic slur during a radio interview. He sparked further controversy when he shared his thoughts on Catholicism during the same interview.
The university confirmed Huggins’ departure Saturday night.
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Huggins, 69, currently ranks third on the list of all-time Division I coaches’ winners. His 935 career wins trail only legendary Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and veteran Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. Krzyzewski retired with 1,202 wins, while Boeheim left training with 998 wins to his credit.
However, Huggins never won a national title. He led Cincinnati to the Final Four in 1992 and West Virginia in 2010.
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Huggins had 16-year stints each with the Bearcats and the Mountaineers. Both ended in the wake of arrests for drinking and driving.
Huggins was charged with driving under the influence Friday night after his SUV stopped in traffic in Pittsburgh with a flat tire and the driver’s side door was left open around 8:30 p.m. criminal complaint, a breath test determined Huggins’ blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit.
He was later released and will have to appear for a preliminary hearing, according to a police report.
In a statement to the West Virginia community Saturday night, Huggins said, «Today, I have sent a letter to President Gordon Gee and Vice President and Director of Athletics Wren Baker informing them of my resignation and intent to step down as head coach of West Virginia. men’s basketball». at West Virginia University effective immediately.»
In a separate statement Saturday night, the West Virginia athletic department said it accepted the resignation «in light of recent events.»
«We support your decision so that you can focus on your health and your family. On behalf of West Virginia University, we share our appreciation for your service to our University, our community, and our state.»
No replacement for Huggins was immediately named. The statement from the athletic department said that «in the coming days, we will focus on supporting student-athletes in our men’s basketball program and consolidating our program’s leadership.»
Huggins said his recent actions do not represent the values of the university or the leadership expected of his role as coach.
«While I have always tried to represent our University with honor, I have let all of you down, and myself,» he said. «I am solely responsible for my conduct and I sincerely apologize to the University community, particularly the student-athletes, coaches and staff of our program. I must do better and plan to spend the next few months focused on my health and my family so that I can be the person they deserve.»
Huggins added that it was «the honor of my professional career» to lead the team at his alma mater. A native of Morgantown, he said, «It will always be home, and I will always be a mountaineer. Thank you to everyone who has supported our program over the years. It has meant more to me and my family than I could ever imagine.» «
In June 2004, Huggins took no objection to drink driving in a Cincinnati suburb and was ordered to attend a three-day intervention program. The University of Cincinnati, where Huggins was serving as head coach at the time, suspended him indefinitely with pay and told Huggins to rehabilitate.
Huggins was allowed to return to work two months later, saying that «I made a terrible mistake and what bothers me the most is that I hurt other people. All I can do is work like crazy to be a better person, a better coach , be better at everything I do, and make those people proud of me.»
In 2005, Huggins’ career in Cincinnati was over; he was fired in the middle of a power struggle with the school president, as well as after the 2004 arrest.
After spending one season at Kansas State, Huggins took his dream job at West Virginia, his alma mater, in 2007.
Last month, Huggins agreed to a three-game suspension, a $1 million salary reduction and sensitivity training for using the slur during an interview with Cincinnati radio station WLW. Huggins was asked about the transfer portal and whether he had a chance to land a player in West Virginia from Xavier, a Jesuit school.
«Catholics don’t do that,» Huggins said. “I’ll tell you what, any school that can throw rubber penises on the ground and then say they didn’t, by God they can get away with it.
«It was the Crosstown Shootout. What it was, it was all those (expletive), those (expletive) Catholics, I think.»
Huggins’ salary of $4.15 million had been reduced by $1 million after the insult. That reduction would be used to directly support WVU’s LGBTQ+ Center, as well as a mental health center at the university and other groups that support underserved communities.
At the time, he was suspended for the first three games of the 2023-24 season. In addition, his contract was changed from a multi-year deal to a year-by-year deal that began on May 10.
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Huggins was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last September. In 41 seasons, his teams have gone to 25 NCAA Tournaments, finished in the top 10 in The Associated Press poll seven times and finished below .500 five times. The Mountaineers have 11 NCAA tournament appearances under Huggins.
Associated Press contributed to this report.