MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia’s Bob Huggins became just the 10th coach in NCAA Division I history to win his 800th career win this afternoon against UMKC 112-67.
His career record now stands at 800-322, including a 210-111 mark at his alma mater.Not too shabby for a guy who grew up in a town of 500 people with two stoplights, nine bars and three churches.
Huggins now joins an elite college basketball group that includes Mike Krzyzewski, Bob Knight, Jim Boeheim, Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, Jim Calhoun, Jim Phelan, Eddie Sutton and Rollie Massimino.
“Those are big names,” said Huggins. “Those are guys when I first sat in the lobby at the Final Four I’d just watch them. I’d watch how they interacted with people and just sit there thinking one day I want to be like them. One day I want to be one of them.”
After Saturday's win, he is now one of them and he got there by winning at places such as Walsh College, Akron, Cincinnati, Kansas State and now West Virginia - not exactly the blue bloods of college basketball.
Afterward, West Virginia University conducted an on-court celebration of Huggins’ 35-year coaching career involving WVU director of athletics Shane Lyons, Huggins’ family and his current and former players.
Also, special video messages from former players, assistant coaches, rival coaches, celebrities, national media members and his family played on the video board during the ceremony.
Four players from his Cincinnati days - Curtis Bostic, Anthony Buford, Steve Logan and Leonard Stokes - were also here to take part in the postgame celebration.
The entire ceremony lasted about 25 minutes and Huggins was visibly moved by the video testimonials.
“I know I speak for Mountaineer Nation when I say I am glad Bob Huggins is our basketball coach,” Lyons told those still remaining in the arena.
As for today’s game, the Mountaineers used a 24-0 run early in the first half to take control of the contest. The lead was 32 at halftime and eventually swelled to 43 points at the conclusion of the game with mostly third-stringers on the floor.
The way the players Huggins had in the game then consisting mostly of freshmen demonstrates why he has won so many games in what will one day lead to his induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame.
With the Mountaineers leading by 40 points, freshman guard Beetle Bolden hustled for a loose basketball that was rolling toward midcourt, dove for it and deflected the ball in Chase Harler’s direction.
Harler grabbed the basketball and set sail to the rim for a breakaway dunk. Those among the 8,800 that were left in the arena stood up and applauded the fantastic hustle play.
Coach Huggins postgame press conference following his 800th career victory. https://t.co/fU6lkokOW5— WVU Men's Basketball (@WVUhoops) December 17, 2016
Seven different players reached double figures this afternoon, led by Nathan Adrian’s 13 points. The Mountaineers shot 53.2 percent from the floor (41 of 77) and forced UMKC into committing 27 turnovers.
UMKC guard LaVell Boyd led all scorers with 14 points.
The Kangaroos drop to 7-6 with the loss.
West Virginia improves to 9-1 and returns to the Coliseum on Tuesday night to face Radford at 7 p.m.