The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

April 17, 2012

Huggins learned long ago you can’t please everybody

MORGANTOWN — Ask West Virginia University men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins some tough questions raised by fans and you’ll get some ready answers.

I found that out last week during an exclusive interview in his office at WVU’s new state-of-the-art basketball practice facilities.

Huggins, whose 2011-12 team had injuries and other problems and finished 19-14, was told that some critics question whether his staff’s recruiting is as good as it had been.

“Well, I don’t come in and tell them how to do their jobs,” he started. “But the truth of the matter is we depended on (one recruit) and we had to get rid of him.

“Then another reportedly had a heart attack. I can’t do anything about that, and a kid went home to be with his family. I don’t find any fault with that.

“You put (one of these three) on the team this year and that’s another 12 to 15 points a game. And all of a sudden, we win 25 games and everybody says what a heck of a job we did.

“We just had too many young guys. And things were totally out of our control.”

Huggins also recalled that WVU lost its best recruit from the year before because when he came in here and went through all the tests, he had a bad heart.

“So you give us those guys and we’re pretty good,” the nation’s fourth-winningest coach said. “Sometimes that happens.”

Huggins also was asked to respond to people who think he is too hard on players when he takes them out of games.

“You know what I’d say to them: I’m going to retire here soon and they can have my job,” he said. “My father (a retired Ohio high school coach) was harder on me (as a star player) than I am on anybody.

“You know what I’d say to those people: They should hope they have the relationship with people that work for them that I have with the guys that play for me.

“If they had the relationship with their employees that I have with my players, the world would be a whole lot better place. You talk to any of these guys and they say we care about them and they care about the coaches.”

He’ll tell you that he really doesn’t give a hoot what these critics say.

Huggins said, “I hear everything from I can’t recruit and that they don’t like our uniforms to whatever.”

He would tell them that the last WVU player to be drafted before Huggins arrived in 2007 was Gordon Malone, which was a long time ago. The last guy to play in the NBA was Lowes Moore.

“When Kevin Jones gets drafted this year he will be the fourth in five years,” Huggins said.

“So if I can’t recruit, what did these guys before me do?”

Huggins concluded, “What I learned long ago was that you can’t please everybody.”

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