Morgantown, West Virginia – In today’s world of college athletics, head coaches will do and say anything to win. They will sacrifice their morals, their values, their principles to get ahead and to win over recruits.
At West Virginia University, we have Neal Brown, a very high character coach with a Howdy Doody grin and an aw shucks niceness that would have been terrific on the recruiting trail in the 1980s. And Bob Huggins, who is one of the toughest, most principled, most accomplished coaches in the history of the sport of basketball. Huggins, to his credit, has done things his way for four decades and he’s unquestionably done it in a clean way.
But with all these principles and morals and ethics, West Virginia is getting left in the dust by the top-tier programs in the country, who have coaches that will rip their friend’s heart out for a chance at landing a recruit.
Last season, Kentucky’s head coach John Calipari had no qualms about stealing Oscar Tshiebwe from his “good friend” Bob Huggins. In fact, Calipari didn’t even bother to pick up the phone to ask Huggins about Tshiebwe, nor did he ask for his permission to pursue him. While Calipari didn’t need Huggins’ permission to reach out to Tshiebwe, it’s a courtesy that Huggins would have certainly extended to Calipari in the same position.
Possessing principles in college athletics is detrimental, not advantageous, and West Virginia will unfortunately suffer the consequences of this under Neal Brown and Bob Huggins. Imagine Neal Brown doing anything remotely questionable or disreputable in the name of progressing the West Virginia football program. It just won’t happen. He will always play by the rules and he will always lose to the other coaches willing to make unethical, unscrupulous moves to improve their programs.
This is today’s world of college athletics and this is unfortunately the position that West Virginia University finds itself in.