By Cam Huffman
West Virginia University head basketball coach Bob Huggins will have plenty of reason to give thanks when he sits down for his turkey dinner sometime later tonight, after his Mountaineers take on Marist in the first round of the Old Spice Classic at noon.
WVU Director of Athletics Oliver Luck announced an amended contract for Huggins Wednesday, extending the coach’s relationship with his alma mater through 2023 and increasing both his salary and incentives.
“We are delighted to have an updated agreement in place that will continue to keep coach Huggins at WVU for his entire career,” said Luck. “He is the third-winningest active coach in the country, and his record of accomplishment speaks for itself. His passion, caring and love for the University and the state of West Virginia is incredible. We look forward to many more years of successful Mountaineer basketball under his guidance.”
The agreement, which will take effect immediately, calls for Huggins to assume a five-year Emeritus status appointment within the WVU athletic department following the sixth year (2017-18). That appointment will conclude on June 30, 2023.
That Emeritus role will include responsibilities in public relations and development, as well as other duties assigned by the athletic director. Should Huggins wish to continue coaching, he could defer the Emeritus status and continue to lead the team beyond 2018 with a mutual agreement between him and the athletic director.
“I feel blessed to be able to end my coaching career at my alma mater — the place that all West Virginians love,” said Huggins, who rose to the top of the coaching ladder at Cincinnati and Kansas State before coming back to Morgantown, his hometown. “I’m very fortunate to work for an administration that shows our passion for this university and this state. It’s rare for a university to redo an existing contract to make sure that their people are taken care of and reassured to coach at that institution. Many thanks to all the people who have been so supportive of me, my family and Mountaineer basketball. I’m truly blessed.”
Huggins, now in his 31st season as a head coach, has won 710 games and has directed WVU to five consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including the 2010 Final Four. In the classroom, the WVU basketball team ranked in the top 10 percent in the 2010 NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate and were honored with the team excellence award for the highest Big East Conference grade-point average.
In his sixth season at WVU, Huggins will be paid $3 million this season, $250,000 in base pay and the remainder in supplemental pay. A portion of that salary — $500,000 during the first year of the agreement — will be deferred until his Emeritus status begins. His base salary at that time will be $50,000 per year.
The amended contract will also include yearly pay raises — $100,000 in 2013-14, $150,000 in 2014-15, $75,000 in 2015-16, $250,000 in 2016-17 and $175,000 in 2017-18.
Other perks of the contract include up to four plane tickets for each road game, a $200,000 bonus for winning the national championship and a $25,000 bonus for any regular season victory over Kansas.
As if that Thanksgiving news wasn’t happy enough for Huggins, he also inked his fourth signee of this year’s recruiting class Wednesday.
Devin Williams, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound power forward from Cincinnati, Ohio, who currently attends Montverde Academy in Florida, signed a national letter of intent.
Williams averaged 15.2 points and 10.5 rebounds as a junior at Withrow High School in Cincinnati. He’s a Rivals.com four-star recruit, and he chose WVU over Ohio State, Memphis, UCLA and N.C. State.
“Devin not only brings a great amount of size but an unusual amount of physicality for a player coming out of high school,” said Huggins. “Devin should be one of the rare freshmen who will not have to make the physical adjustments that most freshmen have to make. He’s a tremendous rebounder and interior player.”
Williams joins Nathan Adrian (Morgantown), Elijah Macon (Columbus, Ohio) and Brandon Watkins (Decatur, Ga.), who had already signed for this year’s class.
“Obviously, we are excited about this class,” said Huggins. “We’ve recruited a great shooter with size and three interior players that we truly need, given that we are losing the majority of our interior players after this season. We fully believe this is an outstanding class.”
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH