Morgantown, West Virginia – Earlier this evening, West Virginia University announced that they had “parted ways” with longtime Bob Huggins’ assistant coach Larry Harrison.
According to the press release from the university, “Harrison has spent the last 16 seasons on the Mountaineer basketball staff, including the last 13 as associate head coach. He was in his 24th season overall on Huggins’ coaching staff after spending eight seasons with him at Cincinnati.”
In other words, Harrison was Bob Huggins’ guy. They’ve been through a lot together and it’s very unlikely that Huggins would have simply decided to fire someone who has been so loyal to him for so many years.
In fact, on The Bob Huggins’ Show tonight, Huggins said the following when asked about the firing: “I don’t really have a lot to say about it because I wasn’t as involved as I’ve been portrayed to be. How’s that?”
There were no follow-up questions and Huggins simply left it at that. However, this certainly points to Huggins not fully supporting the decision to “part ways” with Harrison. Rather, this decision most likely came from above Bob Huggins.
And who is above Bob Huggins?
New director of athletics, Wren Baker.
Baker, who has been on the job for less than a month, clearly saw the need for new blood and fresh perspectives on Bob Huggins’ coaching staff. Huggins has been loyal to a fault to his assistants for decades and although it was obvious that it was time for a change, Huggins’ loyalty to his friends is one of his most defining characteristics.
With that said, for Wren Baker to make such a bold, frankly ballsy, decision so early on in his tenure as director of athletics shows a real determination to improve the basketball program. While Shane Lyons let Huggins coast through the past decade or so without making many (any?) changes, it seems that Baker has made it clear that he’s calling the shots and that he will be willing to shake things up to better West Virginia athletics.
Bob Huggins is an institution at West Virginia University and in the state of West Virginia, and firing a dear friend and longtime assistant of his was no easy task, but it was one that needed to be made.
Well done, Mr. Baker.