The Norma Mae Huggins cancer research endowment fund, named in honor of Bob Huggins' late mother, is currently involved in an online tournament against 63 other coach's respective foundations. All of the participants get at least $5,000, but the grand prize is $100,000 that will go directly into the research fund.
"We're going to be in excess of probably $600,000 and adding another $100,000 in there would be huge," Huggins said. "The beautiful thing about it is it all stays right here in West Virginia. It doesn't go anywhere else and that's huge."
In order for this fund to win, Coach Huggins will need all of the support he can from West Virginia fans. The Infiniti Coaches' Charity Challenge is an interactive poll that is split up into four regions, just like the real NCAA Tournament in March. The winner of each region moves into a Final Four where the ultimate winner will be decided. Huggins is in the East Region, along with big name coaches like Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Calhoun, Jim Boeheim, Jamie Dixon and John Calipari.
"I'm going to call [Calipari] and see if he'll just throw it for me," Huggins said jokingly. "Every year they put us against Kentucky [in the NCAA Tournament] so why not do it for this deal?"
Even if Huggins does not advance to the next round, the tournament has been great exposure for the research fund and has gotten the word out to many in the state.
"Since it's gotten exposure, there's been a few people who have just come in and donated some money which is fantastic," Huggins said. "It's such a great cause and we have a terrific cancer center that is doing great things. Scot Remick is doing a great job over there and I'm very proud to have the opportunity to be involved in this."
You can vote just once a day, but there is no limit to how many days you can vote. The regional winners will be announced February 28th and the overall winner will be announced March 9th.
The WVU student section has also been nominated for the Naismith Student Section of the Year Award. There are 32 schools in the tournament and in round one, the top 16 teams with the most votes will advance to round two. The top eight teams advance to the final round in the same way.
The final round is voted upon by the Naismith Awards Board of Selectors. The criteria involved into the final vote are:
"Athletics and I teamed up to fill out the application for the Naismith Student Section of the Year Award because we thought it would be a great thing for WVU and exposure for our student section and students," said Steve Staffileno, director of the Mountaineer Maniacs. "We want to be known nationally as one of the top student sections in the country which I really believe we are and I think a lot of people can see that if we make some noise in this competition."
Voting for round one will end February 12th and voting for round two will end February 24th. The winner will receive $5,000 that goes to its athletic association.