MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Former West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins wants to be reinstated, threatening legal action if he does not get his job back, according to his attorney.
Huggins resigned and retired as the Mountaineers’ coach on June 17 after an DUI arrest in Pittsburgh. On Friday, David A. Campbell, who represents Huggins, wrote a letter to West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee, WBOY-TV reported.
According to Campbell’s letter, the Hall of Fame coach seeks “a correction of a clear breach of his employment agreement with WVU.”
The letter also claims that Huggins, 69, “never signed a resignation letter and never communicated a resignation to anyone at WVU.”
“To the contrary, we understand that the purported ‘resignation’ is incredibly based on a text message from Coach Huggins’ wife,” Campbell wrote, according to WCHS-TV.
The news was first reported by WV MetroNews on Saturday.
University officials said the Hall of Fame coach did indeed resign and the university is moving on. In a response letter to Huggins’ attorney, West Virginia claims the Huggins statements are “factually inaccurate.”
“We are frankly confused by the allegations within the letter,” Stephanie Taylor, vice president and general counsel for the WVU Office of the General Counsel, wrote in a response letter, according to WCHS.
“What is clear, however, is that on the evening of June 17, 2023, Mr. Huggins met with members of the men’s basketball staff and student-athletes to announce that he would no longer be coaching the team,” Taylor wrote in response, according to WV MetroNews. “The same evening at 9:38 p.m., following a series of written and verbal communications with Mr. (Rocky) Gianola, who was acting as his counsel, Mr. Huggins clearly communicated his resignation and retirement to the University in writing via email (not text message as asserted in your letter).”
A breath test after his arrest determined that Huggins’ blood alcohol content level was 0.21%, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08% in Pennsylvania, ESPN reported, citing a police report. A blood sample also was taken from Huggins at an area hospital.
According to a criminal complaint, police found a white bag full of empty beer cans on the floor of Huggins’ SUV, The New York Timesreported. Another white bag filled with cans was found in the trunk of the vehicle, according to the newspaper.
Huggins was arrested and charged with DUI and later released from custody, WPXI reported.
A week later, Mountaineers assistant coach Josh Eilert was promoted to interim head coach for the 2023-24 season, according to The Associated Press.
Six weeks before his arrest, Huggins used an anti-gay slur two times during an interview with a Cincinnati radio station, ESPN reported.
Huggins quickly apologized, calling it an “insensitive and abhorrent phrase.” West Virginia suspended him for three games, reduced his salary by $1 million and amended his contract to a year-by-year agreement, according to WBOY.
In 2004, Huggins was convicted of a drunken driving charge while coaching at Cincinnati, ESPN reported. He was suspended for approximately two months after pleading no contest and was ordered to undergo rehabilitation.
Huggins, who played for the Mountaineers while in college, coached at his alma mater since 2007, ESPN reported. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2022 after compiling an 863-389 overall career record.
Huggins spent one season at Kansas State (2006-2007). He led Cincinnati to 14 straight NCAA tournament appearances from 1992 to 2005 and had a 398-128 record at the school, according to Sports-Reference.com. He took the Bearcats to the Final Four in 1992.
Huggins spent his first five seasons coaching at Akron, where he compiled a 97-46 record.
He had the most wins of any active men’s Division I basketball coach, according to the Times.
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