As the West Virginia men’s basketball team came out on the winning end of their Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic third-place game on Sunday against Clemson, Mountaineer head coach Bob Huggins moved into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time Division I win list with 904 career victories.
The achievement propels the longtime head coach past Roy Williams, the former head coach at the University of North Carolina. The three coaches that lie ahead of Huggins are Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and longtime UCONN coach Jim Calhoun.
Let’s begin way back in the beginning of Huggins coaching days where he began at the place he currently calls home in Morgantown as a graduate assistant in 1977. Huggins received the opportunity after graduating from West Virginia in 1977 after also playing college ball up the road in Athens, Ohio at Ohio University.
After serving as an assistant coach at Ohio State from 1978 until 1980, Huggins was offered the head coaching job at Walsh College where he turned the NAIA school around during his time there. The head coach built an overall record of 71-26 while leading Walsh to the postseason two out of three seasons he coached there including finishing first in the conference in his final two seasons in North Canton, Ohio.
Following a one-year stint at the University of Central Florida as an assistant coach in 1983-84, the coach accepted his first head coaching opportunity with a Division I school at Akron in 1984. Akron was a member of the Ohio Valley Conference where Huggins was named coach of the year of the conference in 1986 and led the Zips to their first ever NCAA tournament appearance.
Huggins also led a team that had struggled before he arrived into a 97-46 overall record team through five years and posted 20 or more wins in four of those seasons.
After impressing in his time with Akron, the head coach accepted another Division I head coaching role at Cincinnati in 1989. Huggins stuck around at Cincinnati for 16 seasons until 2005. During his tenure, he led the Bearcats to a 399-127 mark throughout his time as the most winningest coach in Cincinnati school history.
Throughout the 16 seasons of Huggins time at Cincinnati, the coach led his Bearcats to the NCAA tournament in every single year of his tenure. Six of those seasons also saw Cincinnati finish the season in the Top 10 of the AP Poll. Huggins also led his Bearcats to the Elite Eight on three different occasions and the Final Four in 1992.
The Morgantown native then led Kansas State to its most wins in 19 years when he collected 23 victories in Manhattan, Kansas in 2006-07. That season also saw Huggins earn Big 12 Coach of the Year after leading the Wildcats to 10 Big 12 wins, the most in program history since the Big 12 initiated as a conference in 1997.
Huggins was officially named West Virginia University’s head basketball coach on April 6, 2007 and he impressed in his first season at the helm, leading the Mountaineers to a Sweet 16 appearance. The round of 16 appearance marked the furthest a West Virginia coach had reached in their first year at the helm of the program.
The coach’s best season since he’s been the head man in Morgantown came in 2009-2010 when Huggins led the Mountaineers to the Final Four as well as a Big East Championship. That season saw West Virginia collect a school record 31 wins and finish the season ranked No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Today Coach’s Poll.
Some of Huggins victory milestones since he’s been in Morgantown came in 2011 when the head coach became the 20th Division I coach to reach 700 wins on his career. Then only five years later, Huggins became the 10th coach in NCAA Division I history to reach 800 career victories.
It’s safe to say that Huggins career has been a storied one which will more than likely end himself up in the Hall of Fame one day sooner rather than later. The quality of Huggins’ coaching at every school he’s been at can’t go unnoticed as the coach has led schools from their lowest points back to the postseason and produced a number of NBA talents along the way too.