Musings Of A Mountain Man: December 30, 2011 - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Musings Of A Mountain Man: December 30, 2011

   Notes On A Scorecard.....
   WVU basketball coach Bob Huggins and TV preacher Pat Robertson don't seem to be much alike, but now they have at least one thing in common.
   They both are members of the 700 Club.
   HUGGINS DOESN'T DO MUCH EVANGELIZING other than putting the fear of God into his players, into more than a few referees and into at least one insulting St. Mary's College fan in Las Vegas (more on this later).
   Huggins does win basketball games, though, and has for a long time.
   Last week, he passed the 700 victory milestone with an overtime win over Missouri State in the Las Vegas Classic tournament and notched win 701 Wednesday night in Morgantown against Villanova.
   THAT MANY WINS WOULD BE quite an accomplishment in pee-wee basketball, much more so when talking about winning at the highest level of collegiate play, an altitude in which Huggins has worked and prospered for most of his career.
   Huggins currently stands 20th on the all-time collegiate victory list. By the end of next season, he very likely will be 16th, passing Don Haskins (719), Ray Meyer (724), Norm Stewart (728) and Jerry Tarkanian (729).
   Within three years -- circumstances permitting -- he could rise as high at 12th on the list, passing John Chaney (741), Phog Allen (746), Ed Diddle (759) and Hank Iba (764).
   Huggins is fourth in wins among active coaches, behind only National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame members Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhoun.
   WE SURMISE IT'S ONLY A MATTER of time until Huggins also secures a place in the hall of fame.
   Why not?
   He already has the numbers.
   IT'S OUR OPINION THAT discussion of a coach or player's hall of fame worthiness can't be valid unless it can be said the coach or player would make the hall of fame if they immediately retired.
   Too many things can happen to derail such things to think otherwise.
   The roads to various sports halls of fame are littered with the names of coaches and players who appeared to be headed to enshrinement in a particular sport's pantheon, but had the path blocked by fateful interventions such as injury, family strife or substance abuse, to name just three.
   Some get thisclose to a hall of fame but don't make it for one of these reasons or for some other, so help us, Pete Rose.
   IF BOB HUGGINS RETIRED TODAY -- he won't because WVU plays Seton Hall tonight on the road and he wouldn't want to deprive himself and his team the joy of visiting New Jersey -- but if he did, his today record of 701 wins and 256 losses would be hall of fame numbers of their own.
   We believe, however, that there will be many more wins to come.
   Each one of them will bring Huggins another step closer to a something we believe already is inevitable.
   SOURCES CLOSE TO THE SCENE of Huggins' dust-up with the aforementioned St. Mary's College fan following WVU's tough overtime loss to Baylor in Las Vegas say that the man shouted unflattering comments about Huggins' allegedly low player graduation rate at the University of Cincinnati.
   Huggins didn't take kindly to it and blared some barbs of his own as he started to charge toward the man before being held back by a couple of his assistants and led toward the WVU locker room.
   NOT TO THEIR CREDIT, SECURITY at the arena apparently didn't intervene.
   We are told that intervention did come from a number of WVU fans -- among them a former Mountaineer basketball team member we will long admire for doing so -- who confronted the man and offered a variety of unfriendly counter-commentary, including some invitations to step outside and continue the conversation.
   It made us proud to hear this.
   ONE TRAIT OF WEST VIRGINIANS we love is that we tend to stick together and protect our own.
   Hey, Huggins is one of us.
   If some chichi brie taster from California wine country decides to get all uppity with our man Bob, well fondue this and cork it, pal, before you get hit with so many rights you'll be begging for a left.
   The P on your Audi gear shift must stand for "pretentious."
   IT'S FIVE DAYS AND COUNTING until the WVU men of football tackle Clemson the night of Jan. 4 in the Orange Bowl.
   We admittedly are viewing this through the lens of a hopeful fan, but we don't think we're being too blindly biased by saying we think the Mountaineers will give a good account of themselves.
   We look for head coach Dana Holgerson to install some new wrinkles in his potent offense that Clemson coaches will not have seen on this season's WVU game film.
   We also look for Mountaineer defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel -- who has seen on Clemson game film that Tiger quarterback and former WVU commitment Tajh Boyd can make bad decisions when he gets defensive pressure -- to devise ways to put a pass rush on Boyd so as not to let him stand back there and pick apart the Mountaineer secondary.
   SCORE: WVU 35, Clemson 27.
   ESPN INSIDER IS FAR FROM INFALLIBLE, but this prediction caught our eye and we certainly hope it comes true.
Insider is calling WVU a football team to watch in the 2012 season, pointing out that the Mountaineers return almost all of their offensive firepower next year.
   It said while it's hard to call a program that played in the 2011 Orange Bowl a surprise team, WVU may turn heads next year whether it's in the Big East or the Big 12 Conference.
   We quote Insider:
   "Scan down the list of West Virginia's total offensive contributors this season and you'll find no seniors," it said. "All 5,515 yards generated this season were earned by Mountaineers that will be back for at least another year under (head coach Dana) Holgorsen's tutelage."
   A TIP OF THE HAT TO WVU grad and ex-Mountaineer football player Terry "Son of Bobby" Bowden, recently selected the new head football coach at the University of Akron following a successful run at North Alabama that began his comeback tour.
   A winning stint at Akron may provide Bowden his long-desired chance to return to big-time college football.
   That may be a tall order for the ebullient Bowden no matter how much he does at Akron.
   Bowden is in his late 50s and still has some baggage left from his tumultuous reign as head coach at Auburn in the 1990s.
   We won't delve into that here for his sake and for ours.
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