Morgantown, West Virginia – Make no mistake about it, there is a fire burning within Bob Huggins. When he’s won for as long as he has, and in such an impressive way, losing is no longer a viable, reasonable option for him.
Losses are painful for any coach, but Bob Huggins suffers when his team loses because this isn’t just a job to him. Coaching the Mountaineers is about far more than money or respect, Huggins is trying to win for an entire state of people that he loves.
Bob Huggins is a man obsessed with winning.
To say that someone is “obsessed with winning” is almost a bad thing in our culture. Yet, we admire those who show genius in what they do, and most often that takes an obsessive personality.
Bob Huggins is a basketball genius. Behind genius there is often incredible pain and suffering. Likely tortured by his own thoughts and obsession, losses are not easily forgotten, and all of the “what-ifs” during a game likely run through his mind on loop. Although Huggins has won a lot of games, he’s also lost a lot, too, and these losses almost certainly have negatively affected his emotional and perhaps physical health.
Recently, I questioned Huggins’ approach of bashing his own players to the media following games. While I stand behind my opinion that discussing players’ inadequacies and flaws to the public is less than productive, I understand it.
Bob Huggins can’t fake it. He can’t paint a rosy picture and he can’t act like everything is fine. He doesn’t blame his players and take jabs at their effort in post game conferences because it’s a particularly effective strategy; he can’t help himself. He’s very much aware that he can put players in position to be successful and win if they listen to him explicitly.
A constant failure to take what he’s told them countless times in practice and execute it in the game is maddening for him. He’s incapable of keeping that in and to himself. For him to allow you, the fan, the viewer, to think that the product you saw on the court was what he wanted, what he has coached, would mentally and physically destroy him.
The fire within him will burn until his ultimate goal is accomplished. Bob Huggins will win a national championship for the great state of West Virginia, or he will die trying.