MORGANTOWN — Following a meeting with his players on Saturday night, Bob Huggins resigned his post as the WVU head men’s basketball coach after 16 years at his alma mater.
The embattled coach was arrested on a DUI charge by Pittsburgh Police on Friday, which came just six weeks after he was penalized by the school for making homophobic slurs during an interview on a Cincinnati radio station.
“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,” Huggins said in a statement. “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.”
Following the news of the DUI arrest — Huggins’ second one, with his first coming in Cincinnati in 2004 — WVU released a statement stating it was reviewing the situation.
The review came from WVU President E. Gordon Gee and athletic director Wren Baker, with reports stating Baker later met with WVU players to keep them updated hours prior to Huggins meeting with them around 9 p.m.
Huggins spent most of Saturday meeting with school officials to discuss the terms of his departure. As of press time Saturday night, no financial details had been released and WVU had yet to announce who would coach the team for the 2023-23 season.
According to a report from Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, who first broke the story, Huggins told his players he did not know who would coach them this season.
In a joint statement from Gee and Baker, it was said Huggins’ letter of resignation was accepted, but no word was given on the immediate future of the program.
“In the days ahead, we will focus on supporting the student-athletes in our men’s basketball program and solidifying leadership for our program,” the university’s statement read.
Huggins, who was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame last year, won 345 games since his return to the school in 2007, and has won 935 games during his 41-year career that also spanned stops at Walsh (Ohio) College, Akron, Cincinnati and Kansas State.
He guided the Mountaineers to the 2010 Final Four and 11 NCAA tournaments in all.
Under Huggins, WVU appeared in five Sweet 16s. He was twice named national coach of the year while at Cincinnati, but his final moment at WVU will now be the team’s 67-65 loss against Maryland in the first round of the 2023 NCAA tournament.
As to what may happen with WVU’s roster, a school spokesperson confirmed 12 of its 13 scholarship players would be eligible to transfer and meet NCAA requirements for immediate eligibility next season at another school.
After going 19-15 last season, Huggins and his coaching staff signed one of the higher-ranked transfer-portal classes in the nation, which led to much optimism around the state for the 2023-24 season.
The only player in question is guard Jose Perez, who was denied a waiver by the NCAA last season for immediate eligibility after transferring from Manhattan.
Perez has already attended four schools — Gardner Webb, Marquette, Manhattan and WVU — and has already used his one-time transfer waiver allowed by the NCAA.
Huggins was set to earn $3.15 million next season, a result of taking a $1 million pay cut following the interview with 700 WLW in May, in which he used an anti-gay slur twice to refer to Xavier University basketball fans.
He was also suspended for the first three games and had to undergo sensitivity training with WVU’s LGBTQ+ Center. Huggins made a public apology after the interview.
In his statement on Saturday, Huggins said he would spend the next few months focusing on his health and family, “so that I can be the person they deserve,” he said.