WVU awaits Huggins’ decision

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 25, 2002

The Associated Press


Monday, March 25, 2002

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia’s courting of Bob Huggins entered its second week, with the Mountaineers awaiting word Monday on whether the Cincinnati coach would accept a contract offer.

Contract negotiations were held during the weekend. West Virginia athletic director Ed Pastilong and President David Hardesty were seen arriving back at the Morgantown airport on Sunday night. Published reports said they met with Huggins in Cincinnati.

West Virginia received permission to talk with Huggins last week.

Huggins’ choices were clear-cut but d difficult – to remain with a perennial Top 25 program or to return to his alma mater to rebuild a team that had set records for losses in two of the past four seasons and had discipline problems among its players.

Published reports have set West Virginia’s offer, including incentives, at more than $1 million per season.

Cincinnati set a school record with 31 victories this season. The Bearcats annually dominate Conference USA and are a fixture in the NCAA tournament.

In 22 seasons as a head coach, including 13 at Cincinnati, Huggins has a 500-172 record.

Huggins was expected to meet with Cincinnati players Monday upon their return from spring break.

Messages left this weekend for Huggins and his Columbus, Ohio, attorney, Bret Adams, were not returned.

Huggins, 48, was born in Morgantown, played for the Mountaineers from 1975-77 and began his coaching career there the next season as a graduate assistant.

The West Virginia job opened when Gale Catlett, also a former Cincinnati coach, retired Feb. 14. Ironically, Catlett chose not to retain Huggins when Catlett took the West Virginia job in 1977.

Huggins is West Virginia’s top candidate for the job, although Pastilong had spoken with about a dozen others.

West Virginia was 8-20 this season, including a 1-15 record and last-place finish in the Big East Conference.