Huggins Shares Milestone Win with Friends, WVU Players - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Huggins Shares Milestone Win with Friends, WVU Players


Bob Huggins finished walking through the postgame handshake line and one by one was met by his Mountaineers basketball team until he was flat out mobbed on the court.

The players who had just come so close to failing to deliver Huggins his 700th win ultimately came through and didn't hide their excitement for helping reach the milestone.

It took overtime to get it, but Huggins became the 20th coach in Division-I college basketball history to join the 700 Club.

"It means I've been doing this a long time," Huggins said after the game. "You do this 30 years and if you don't win games, they're going to fire you."

Signs in the stands shot up throughout the game reminding anyone who may have forgotten what exactly a win in this one would mean for the WVU coach. When the clock ran out and 70-68 flashed on the scoreboard, a chant of "700" rang out from the Mountaineer faithful.

Former WVU player Cam Payne passed out yellow shirts with the milestone printed on them and without a second thought, each player immediately put the shirt on over his jersey.

"It was a great team win for us and Coach didn't talk about it, but all the other coaches let us know this is a big game for us and for Coach," says Aaron Brown, who finished with 14 points for the Mountaineers. "We just wanted to get it out of the way so all these distractions could be out of the way."

It certainly didn't look good in the second half when the Mountaineers fell apart at both ends of the court and Missouri State was able to pull ahead by 10 points with just over eight minutes to go.

Senior guard Truck Bryant stood outside the locker room following the win with his shirt displayed proudly and admitted that when things weren't going WVU's way, he couldn't help but think about 700 and fight to make sure it happened.

"Definitely. This is something great for Coach, another milestone in his career," says Bryant. "He's a great coach, a hall of fame coach and really this win was just for him."

Knowing how much it meant to his team was perhaps the most rewarding part of the milestone for Huggins.

"I don't think about those things. I mean I honestly don't. You just want to try to win every game and do your job," says Huggins. "We've had, in five years now at West Virginia, we've had wonderful kids. They're great guys. They're very caring, they're just good people."

As the team celebrated its Vegas victory, a few friends of Huggins' passed by and into the locker room to congratulate him. Former Mountaineer great "Hot Rod" Hundley joined Huggins' WVU coach Joedy Gardner with a hug and a brief message for what he had accomplished.

"I'm very fortunate to have a lot of very dear friends," says Huggins. "People say if you have five, you've got a lot. I found out when everything happened at Cincinnati, I found out I had a hell of a lot more than five. I'm very fortunate in my life to be able to be surrounded by people who care about you no matter what happens."

Those friends, the players and the fans who were with Huggins for 700 will be right back there to watch him go for 701 Friday night.

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