Columns/Opinion, Men's Basketball, Opinion, WVU Sports

COLUMN: Wren Baker unsure if there is an end in sight with Bob Huggins drama

MORGANTOWN — After a summer filled with fireworks, it’s been too quiet lately, maybe eerily so, where it concerns the soap opera between Bob Huggins and WVU.

It’s been more than a month now since we’ve seen any correspondence between Huggins’ lawyer, David Campbell, and WVU Vice President & General Counsel Stephanie Taylor.

In July, we saw everything from Huggins denying he had officially resigned his position as men’s basketball coach following a drunken driving arrest in Pittsburgh to Huggins offering his official resignation in exchange for getting his old office back and being named Emeritus Head Coach.

You can imagine the type of raw emotions felt by both Huggins and WVU during that month that played out so publicly on sports pages across the nation and social media.

“I wish that the transition could have happened differently,” WVU athletic director Wren Baker said when asked about Huggins during a press conference earlier this week. “My guess is that he does as well. He’s a Mountaineer, and sometimes in families there’s disagreements and hard feelings. Sometimes people get over those and sometimes they don’t.”

To Baker’s credit, he said all of the right things when asked about Huggins, basically wiping himself clear of the situation and leaving it up to the lawyers, as would be expected.

“Probably can’t say a lot there, because there is back-and-forth there between lawyers and I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t want to get in trouble with our lawyers,” he said. “I’ll just leave it at this: I have a lot of admiration and respect for coach and what he accomplished here. He and I have never had a bad word.”

And so we are left to wonder if cooler heads have prevailed in the time that has lapsed or if it’s being used to figure out the next step in the process.

It is here we take the final tidbits of Baker’s words, analyze them and anticipate a WVU war room that has not emptied or taken any sigh of relief lately.

If there is any type of endgame to be had in this drama, Baker isn’t making any prediction of what it exactly is and it’s probably not coming anytime soon.

“My hope is that at some point, we can all look back on this and move past it,” Baker said. “But I don’t know in terms of an endgame, I’m not in control of really either side of that. So, I don’t know if there is one or if we’re near it, or where we’re at on that journey.”

A journey it’s been and no one’s reputation has gone unscarred, the usual result in most ugly divorces.

Yet can’t we somehow see through a list of demands — either ridiculous ones or justified, depending on which side of the fence you’re on — and figure out what the actual endgame is here?

It’s money. It always is in the majority of cases like this.

Like Baker, I’m no lawyer, but Huggins’ legal strategy is seemingly to shoot for the moon in order to reach the stars.

More simply, come out with a high list of demands in order to reach a more favorable settlement later after conceding said demands.

This doesn’t have to be a long and drawn-out process, one that really doesn’t benefit either side.

Except that seems to be where we’re headed. Huggins has never backed down from a challenge on a basketball court, and now possibly a court of law, too.

If we are in a pause now, expect there will be more fireworks to follow.

“Nobody has sent me anything that’s said, ‘Hey, this is fully resolved,’ ” Baker said. “I haven’t seen anything else that says it’s not, either.”