Two months ago, Bob Huggins was the most revered person in West Virginia. The man, who left a job at Kansas State after only one year to become the head coach at his alma mater, owned a deity-like status in the state. Then he opened his mouth on a radio call-in show in Cincinnati, offering up several slurs at Xavier and their religion. This was met with a slap on the wrist and a promise to do better and some counseling. One month later, Huggins was found nearly incoherent behind the wheel of his SUV, his tire shredded while he sat parked in the middle of the street, intoxicated to a point that would make even the hard-partying sophomores at WVU blush. Huggins blew a 0.21 and that is where this story begins.
Following his arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Huggins was given an ultimatum. Resign and retire OR be fired. His choice. As the story goes, Huggins chose the former, opting to resign and focus on his health, and WVU wished him the best and all parties viewed this as a chance to end his tenure on the best possible note given the circumstances.
Following this, Huggins released a statement claiming “he had informed them on his intent to resign”. Or so the story went.
Over the weekend, what was a sad story that would have ended up as a foot note in the legacy of Bob Huggins, quickly became front-page tabloid fodder as a lawyer representing Huggins sent a notice to West Virginia that Huggins had not actually resigned and was threatening to sue to regain his former (current?) job.
Relevant to this letter, the Amendment changed the term of the Employment Agreement to conclude on April 30, 2024. Based on press statements, it appears that WVU is taking the position that Coach Huggins voluntarily resigned and terminated the Employment Agreement in advance of April 30, 2024. However, although the press statements purport to have resignation communications directly from Coach Huggins to you and/or the Athletic Director, Coach Huggins has never communicated his resignation to you, the Athletic Director, or anyone at WVU. To the contrary, we understand that the purported “resignation” is incredibly based on a text message from Coach Huggins’ wife.
As such, West Virginia reviewed the initial documentation from Huggins and his lawyer and issued a statement of their own, stating they were confused by the allegations as they were having conversations with another of Huggins’ attorneys regarding his compensation following his resignation!
If your head was spinning, you were not the only one as everyone was left scrambling to figure out exactly what is being reported and what is being quoted here. It appears that as part of his contract, Bob Huggins is required to formally deliver a letter sent by registered or certified mail
Now today Huggins and WVU have once again exchanged legal pleasantries as Huggins has now formally declared his position, stating that his resignation was false and he never submitted a letter. He goes on to state “the basketball program is in need and I have a strong desire to conclude my career as the Head Basketball Coach for the program I love”.
Bob Huggins has released a statement: pic.twitter.com/Qycv8RRydO— Ethan Bock (@ethanbock_) July 10, 2023
And West Virginia responds in kind. West Virginia notes that they had conversations with Mr. Gianola, Bob Huggins long-standing lawyer who has represented Huggins in multiple endeavors and as part of this conservation that occured between June 16 and 17th, Mr. Gianola indicated Huggins would resign, would submit his resignation via email from his wife’s account and that Huggins met with the team to announce he would not be with them.
West Virginia University responds to Bob Huggins: pic.twitter.com/c0lMWEbupb— Ethan Bock (@ethanbock_) July 10, 2023
What was a sad story that would have resolved itself with a happy ending in a few years is now hurtling over a cliff that can never be repaired. The ultimate result of this calamity will tar the legacy of Huggins, split a fan-base that is already at each others throats and ultimately be another chapter in the dark days that are the 2019-2023 seasons.