Cover Photo USA Today Sports
Morgantown, West Virginia – Following West Virginia’s shocking decision to “part ways” with longtime Bob Huggins’ assistant Larry Harrison, there was seemingly an outpouring of support for him.
Current players, former players, people who are and were a part of the program, voiced their displeasure on social media about Coach Harrison being fired.
But to be clear, there were 10-20 individuals who praised him, but what about all of the others who played under him and worked with him who didn’t say a word?
I was pleasantly surprised to see anyone support Harrison following his dismissal because it was literally the exact opposite of what I’ve heard about him for years and years. The notion that Harrison was beloved by everyone in the program and that he was mysteriously fired without cause is simply not true.
There was a reason that Harrison was fired. West Virginia’s new athletic director saw what a lot of people have seen within the program and he acted in the best interest of the basketball program. Bob Huggins is loyal to a fault and he’s (not-so) subtly indicated that he has a bunch of “BSers”, a bunch of players and members of his coaching staff who don’t really belong on the team.
After a particularly frustrating recent loss, Huggins had the following to say: “I have been blessed. I’ve had some special guys, special guys who loved the game, special guys who said, ‘I’m going to be somebody at this game,’ and meant it.
We’ve got a bunch of BSers. They don’t really want to be special. They want to hang on. We’ve got too many guys. Sometimes I have too big a heart and let guys around who shouldn’t be around and try to help them. Probably the same with the staff. We’ve just got to go back and figure out how we can compete.”
Since the only change that has been made after Huggins made this comment is firing Larry Harrison, one could be led to imply that he was referring to Harrison as at least one of the people who “shouldn’t be around and just wants to hang on.”
Huggins’ claim that he was not involved in the process of firing Harrison was both untrue and unfair to Wren Baker. Baker, in his first month on the job, would not make a decision that would upset his Hall of Fame basketball coach without his approval. That would be a terrible way to start his tenure at West Virginia. Rather, Huggins knew that Harrison was part of the problem, saw his program declining in a dramatic way and knew that changes had to be made.
Too often at West Virginia University, we’re given cloudy answers and are left with no real explanation for why things happened the way that they did. No one wants to take responsibility. No one wants to make the hard, difficult decisions.
Do we really know why Vic Koenning, Shane Lyons or Larry Harrison were fired? Not really, no. It’s all ambiguous and unclear.
Here’s why. Bob Huggins got away with making the following statement about Harrison: “It was a tough decision, but it was made in the best interest for Mountaineer basketball. Larry and I have worked together for 24 years and have shared many great moments. I’m not going to take any questions on the matter and we’ll now move on to questions about the upcoming game.”
That’s just not fair. We are owed an explanation, even if it’s perfectly obvious why it happened.