The Case Against Bob Huggins Being in the Hall of Fame

On a recent episode of the Good N’ Plenty Podcast with Jeff Goodman, West Virginia Head Coach Bob Huggins was asked, “What would it mean to you to be inducted into the Hall of Fame?”

Huggins reply was short and sweet: “I think it’s a tremendous honor, but I don’t think it’s what people want to make it out for me.  It’s a great honor and I’m not downplaying it at all, but I haven’t done what I’ve done to get into the Hall of Fame.  I’ve done what I’ve done because I love the game of basketball, I’ve grown up with basketball, I’ve loved the players that we’ve had and the stories that we will always have.  I love the fun that we’ve had and I love that there isn’t a day that goes by where one of them doesn’t call to just check in with me and see how I’m doing.  To me, that means more than anything in the world.”

Huggins has been nominated twice and many feel that he deserves the recognition of being inducted into the Hall of Fame, but he remains on the outside looking in.  Although he is sixth all time in wins by a Division I head coach -behind only Roy Williams, Jim Calhoun, Bob Knight, Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski – there is something keeping him out in the eyes of the voters.

Like all West Virginians, I believe that he should have already been inducted, but playing Devil’s Advocate, what more could Huggins do to win over the Hall of Fame voters?

Win a National Championship.  Huggins is one of only ten coaches in college basketball history with 800 or more victories, he’s been to 24 NCAA tournaments, has led his teams to nine Sweet Sixteen appearances, four Elite Eights and two Final Fours, but he has never won a national championship, which is ultimately what separates him from Roy Williams, Jim Calhoun, Bob Knight, Jim Boeheim and Coach K.  In addition, while he recently passed Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith in total career win, they both have three national championships between them.

Although Huggins has led one of the cleanest basketball programs in the nation, his embarrassing dismissal from Cincinnati following a drunk and driving arrest back in 2005 has been a permanent black eye on his otherwise flawless record as a head coach.  This, of course, is unfortunate, but the Hall of Fame expects their candidates to be pillars on and off the court.  With that said, could one bad night 15 years ago really be the determining factor of what he’s done on and off the court during rest of his long and illustrious career?

A lack of a national championship and the arrest in 2005 are the only two possible explanations for him not being inducted by now.  However, numbers don’t lie and Bob Huggins has produced wins better than almost anyone in the history of the game.  Huggins’ 2020-2021 team is as talented as any team he’s ever coached before, and this very well could be the year where he joins the greatest coaches of all time with a national championship to accompany all of his other accomplishments.

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Brad Smith
Brad Smith, "The Voice of Morgantown", is the most trusted, accomplished name in West Virginia sports journalism. Smith is the foremost, preeminent authority on West Virginia athletics and a lifelong fan of the Mountaineers. Smith, a proud graduate of West Virginia University, resides in Morgantown most of the year, but has a home in Jacksonville, Florida, where he lives during the winter.