SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The son of a legendary high school basketball coach in Ohio, Bob Huggins has had a successful coaching career in his own right.
Huggins, the owner of 916 wins as a college head coach, is one of just two coaches in NCAA men’s basketball history to win 300 or more games with two Division I programs.
The Bear, who said Wednesday that he didn’t feel like he was part of the so-called coaching fraternity when he was starting his career at Walsh College in the early 80s, is now part of the most elite fraternity in basketball.
Huggins, the West Virginia University men’s basketball head coach, has officially been enshrined as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
“To my assistant coaches, my support staff, throughout my career, and to my teammates: I thank each and every one of you,” Huggins said. “This induction is about you, and about how you played a role in me being who I am tonight.”
Huggins spoke for roughly nine minutes Saturday night. He had everyone in attendance laughing at multiple points in his speech.
One time, in particular, was while telling a story from his childhood, which has helped mold the way he’s approached life and coaching.
“I got in a truck with this guy one day, and I looked, and he didn’t have a rear mirror. I said you don’t have a rearview mirror, he said we ain’t going backward, boy,'” which was met with roaring laughter from the crowd. “When I listened to the radio and see if we were going to have school, they said Midville Mine No. 9 will work. It was never they won’t work. And that’s how I’ve lived my life — not looking back, and hard work.”
With fellow Hall of Famers Jerry West and Rod Thorn seated to his left, Huggins noted what his two prestigious presenters not only meant to the sport of basketball, but to him, as well.
“I idolized Jerry West and Rod Thorn growing up. And what a pleasure it is to have them on stage with me and to join them as the third West Virginia University alum to be [inducted] into the Hall of Fame,” Huggins said. “It’s something that I’ll always cherish. And it’s truly an honor.”
Stick with Gold and Blue Nation for more stories and interviews detailing this historic weekend for Huggins. Our coverage is presented by The Health Plan, Little General Stores and Pritt & Spano.
(Editor’s note: Due to restrictions from the Hall of Fame and NBA Entertainment, Gold and Blue Nation cannot archive Huggins’ enshrinement speech online. The full speech can be viewed on the Hall of Fame’s YouTube channel.)