Huggins, the Hall of Fame basketball coach who’s been the head coach at West Virginia University since 2007, resigned from his alma mater last night, one day after being arrested for DUI in Pittsburgh.
According to the police report, Huggins was spotted in an SUV leased by WVU with a blown tire and blocking traffic around 8:30 PM on Friday (just a few blocks away from the Taylor Swift concert at Acrisure Stadium). When police made contact with the coach, he didn’t know where he was and told the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania police that he was in Columbus, Ohio.
Yeah, sounds like the guy was toasted.
Huggins also presented officers with a Burger King receipt from earlier in the day to explain how he got to Pennsylvania, and police noticed that not only was there a garbage bag of empty beer cans in the passenger seat, but there was another bag full of empty beer bottles in the back of the car too.
The 69-year old coach was arrested for DUI after failing field sobriety tests, and when given a breathalyzer test at the police station he blew a .210, nearly three times the legal limit of .08.
Talk about being lucky that he didn’t kill somebody. Was Huggins planning on trying to drive back to Morgantown on three tires and with a .21 BAC? Yikes.
Huggins released a statement late last night, announcing that he would be stepping down as head coach for the Mountaineers to focus on taking care of himself:
“Today, I have submitted a letter to President Gordon Gee and Vice President and Director of Athletics Wren Baker informing them of my resignation and intention to retire as head men’s basketball coach at West Virginia University effective immediately.
My recent actions do not represent the values of the University or the leadership expected in this role. While I have always tried to represent our University with honor, I have let all of you – and myself – down. I am solely responsible for my conduct and sincerely apologize to the University community – particularly to the student-athletes, coaches and staff in our program. I must do better, and I plan to spend the next few months focused on my health and my family so that I can be the person they deserve.
It has been the honor of my professional career to lead the men’s basketball program at my alma mater and I take great pride in our accomplishments. But I am most proud of the tremendous young men who chose to spend their formative years with us, and who have gone on to do great things with their lives.
I was born in Morgantown, graduated from West Virginia University and had the pleasure of coaching here for seventeen seasons as an assistant or head coach. It will always be my 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 you could ever know.”
The University also released a statement from President Gordon Gee and Director of Athletics Wren Baker:
“Coach Huggins informed us of his intent to retire and has submitted his letter of resignation, and we have accepted it in light of recent events. We support his decision so that he can focus on his health and family.
On behalf of West Virginia University, we share our appreciation for his service to our University, our community and our state. During his time as a student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach, Coach Huggins devoted himself to his players, to our student body, to our fans and alumni and to all West Virginians. His contributions will always be a part of our history.
In the days ahead, we will focus on supporting the student-athletes in our men’s basketball program and solidifying leadership for our program.”
It’s a sad end to a Hall of Fame career, with his 934 wins placing Huggins at #8 on the all-time wins list after a 41-year career that included head coaching stops at Walsh, Akron, Cincinnati and Kansas State before ending up at WVU.
And it’s also not Huggins’ first DUI: The coach was let go from Cincinnati in 2005, a year after he was arrested for DUI for the first time.
While it’s tough to see him go out like this, after reading the police report he’s also extremely lucky that it didn’t end up worse than it was.
Hopefully Huggins can get the help that he needs and enjoy his retirement – even if it’s not the way he wanted to go out.