SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins was officially enshrined as one of the newest members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Huggins spoke for roughly nine minutes, recalling his childhood, reviewing his career, and thanking those who have meant so much to him, both on and off the court.
Fans can click on the video above to see a condensed version of his speech, featuring the best moments (and some of the biggest laughs) from his time at the podium.
Opening statements, and thoughts on his presenters: “I’m blessed to be a part of the prestigious class, and truly humbled to be a part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. It’s truly an honor to be on stage and be presented by two great West Virginians, two of the best to ever play at West Virginia University, and two individuals that have had a resounding impact in basketball history at the collegiate level and at the professional level. I idolized Jerry West and Rod Thorn when I was growing up, and what a pleasure it is to have them on stage with me, and join them as the third West Virginia University alum to be (inducted) into the Hall of Fame.”
Huggins’ message to the Hall of Fame: “Thank you to the Hall of Fame voters, and to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for selecting me to be worthy of induction. And to Jerry Colangelo for his contributions, for all that he does for basketball, and for the Hall of Fame.”
An interraction, and life lessons from his youth: “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. 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.”
The Bear on Norma Mae Huggins: “When I was at Cincinnati, my mother died of colon cancer in 2004. She was my best friend – the person I could talk to about anything. We wanted to do something to support my mother’s memory, and find a cure for cancer. My family and I started the Norma Mae Huggins Research Endowment Fund at WVU. And we have raised more than $16 million to help find a cure for cancer.”
Coming to West Virginia University: “When the job opened at West Virginia, I wanted to come home. And I’ve been there for the last 15 years. Some of the greatest times in my life have been (at WVU). And this has been a dream for me to coach here at my alma mater. I’m blessed and grateful for all of the great people that basketball has put in my life.”
To those who have shared the jersey, and the bench, with him: “To all of the guys that I’ve had the pleasure of coaching, to my assistant coaches, support staff throughout my career, and to my teammates, I thank each and every one of you. I wish all of you could be here with me tonight. This induction is about you and how you played a role in me being who I am tonight.”
To his fellow Hall of Famers: “Finally I’m forever grateful to be enshrined with the basketball legends in this Hall of Fame. I am truly blessed, and extremely humbled to be joining you.”
(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.)