West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins was once considered one of the, if not, the best coach in college basketball. Over time, after personal demons were battled, Huggins is now finding himself in a state of mediocrity. Being slightly above-average is fine and dandy for most people, but I doubt that’s how Huggins feels as he is one of the most competitive people to ever yell at young people for a living ever.
And that is exactly what Huggins has done throughout his entire career, yell at kids. Well, that is only after he charms the pants off them and convinces them to go play basketball for the Mountaineers. Don’t kid yourself either, convincing a slew of 18 year-old kids that the path to the NBA goes through West Virginia is a tough sell. However, in the past Huggins has found a way to get the right players to fit his system and make West Virginia a relevant basketball program.
Then, like all things Huggins has put his hands on, over time the program has stumbled backwards. Instead of improving every year in the Huggins era, the Mountaineers find themselves losing more often, especially recently. Huggins first year with the program he went an astounding 26-11, then 23–12, 31–7, until the 2010-11 season started. That season was not a horrid one, 21–12, and they even made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. However, the team just felt, “Okay-ish”. Nobody excepted them or even entertained the idea that they would be dangerous players in March. Huggins, even in his drunken debauchery days with the Cincinnati Bearcats, rarely trots out a team who doesn’t have high expectations in the tournament.
This is how folks knew that the program, and more importantly Huggins, were going in the wrong direction. Since that season the Mountaineers went 19–14 last season(First round exit), and barely look like they’re forming a basketball team this year.
West Virginia has some of the most loyal fans in college sports. They also don’t tolerate mediocrity as well as you would expect a fanbase whose program has been at that level for years. Huggins, for the first time his career, needs to worry about his job security for reasons that have nothing to do with booze, loose women, or NCAA infractions.
It is Huggins’ own fault that the West Virginia basketball is now a more than average program. Oddly enough, it might also be to good for Huggins because of the expectations fans now have for the program. Shenanigans aside, your performance of a coach can’t be in decline and still expect to be treated the way you were when you won a National Title. Maybe it isn’t booze, a lack of ability, or anything else that has taken Huggins back. I just don’t know.
Father time is a cruel and evil man, and while Bob The Slob Huggins is only 59, he has lived a life of a vagabond who is 80. So let that be a lesson to you kids, booze is bad.
Well, apparently only after you quit.
Joe covers the Catholic Seven for Rant Sports. For the love of Sam Cassell, follow Joe on the Twitter Machine @JosephNardone