Cover Photo: Michael C. Johnson/USA Today
Morgantown, West Virginia – It seems so long ago, but there was a moment in time where Bob Huggins almost made a mistake that cost him his coaching career.
Flashback to 2004, Huggins was arrested for driving under the influence and was forced out as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats. Huggins was given a second chance when he was hired by Kansas State University before ultimately deciding to come home to coach the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Since this very serious mistake, Huggins has been a model citizen and has gone on to rehabilitate his career in Morgantown. He’s a Hall of Famer, one of the winningest coaches in the history of college basketball and has led his hometown team for the past 16 years.
But that would have never happened unless he was given another chance.
Chris Beard, the former Texas Longhorns head coach, needs another chance now. Beard was fired by Texas last month following a domestic violence charge. However, the charges have been dismissed now and Beard, one of the very best coaches in college basketball, is cleared to return to the sidelines.
According to a report by 247Horns yesterday, Beard is considering several options, including the possibility of working under Bob Huggins at West Virginia. “A source close to Beard said Beard has been spending time at a house in Mississippi owned by former NBA and college coach Tim Floyd. The source said Beard has been entertaining offers, including possibly working as a special assistant to West Virginia coach Bob Huggins next season.”
Although Beard will likely have several offers from programs around the country, being an assistant under Bob Huggins for a year before taking over the program the next season almost makes too much sense. Huggins’ current contract ends following the 2023-2024 season and he will be 70 years old at that time. It will be hard for Huggins to walk away from the program, but leaving it in the very capable hands of Chris Beard, a close friend of his, would make his retirement effortless for him.
Chris Beard is a passionate, fiery head coach who is an incredible recruiter and has been successful everywhere he’s been. Beard, 50, has a 237-98 career record (70.7% winning percentage), was the 2019 AP National Coach of the Year, is a two-time Big 12 Coach of the Year and is precisely the coach West Virginia needs to step in and take over when Bob Huggins retires.
While it’s easy to cancel public figures in today’s culture for mistakes they’ve made, Chris Beard deserves another chance to coach college basketball and to pursue a national championship, and there’s no better place than Morgantown, West Virginia to do just that.
Bob Huggins understands second chances. He got one and has the opportunity to give one to his friend, Chris Beard. Huggins has one year remaining on his contract. Beard replacing Huggins after serving one year as his “special assistant” makes a lot of sense. #WVU
— The Voice of Morgantown (@voicemorgantown) February 19, 2023