Defeated Huggins: I Didn't See This Coming - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Defeated Huggins: I Didn't See This Coming


Expectations are changing for Bob Huggins.

With his team continuing to show no improvement, even taking major steps back after the smallest glimmers of hope, the head coach himself has begun to admit defeat in a way he may have been reserving for a 27-point loss.

That's what Huggins and the West Virginia basketball team (8-9, 1-3) experienced on Saturday, falling to Purdue 79-52 in embarrassing fashion and looking as lost as ever on the court in doing so.

"I've never in my coaching career not been able to get guys to compete," Huggins said in his postgame radio show. "We don't compete. We shoot it terrible. That shouldn't stop us from guarding, it shouldn't keep us from rebounding, it sure doesn't cause you to throw the ball away."

Huggins recruited these athletes. He and his staff saw something in the players who now wear the WVU uniform when they visited them in gyms or watched their film throughout the recruiting process.

But as he scanned the floor in West Lafayette, he was disappointed and confused by what he saw. The youngest player on the court, Eron Harris, appeared to him the most willing to mix it up and give the necessary effort.

"The scary thing is our younger guys … probably does as good of a job as anybody does at competing," Huggins said.

A despondent Huggins has immerged from the locker room after some of these setbacks. It dates back to the end of last season, when the head coach seemed to admit that he did not have the answers and was perplexed as any sports writer or any casual fan as to why things had gone so terribly wrong.

That version of Huggins has sat down for similar media sessions since, with growing frequency just 17 games into this season.

Early on, he spoke of his determination to "fix this," referring to the multitude of problems he saw from the Mountaineers. In a few subsequent press conferences, he returned to this promise, almost sounding like an effort to ensure the fans that he understands their frustration.

Only, after Saturday's game, his promise changed.

"I don't know that I can fix it totally this year," Huggins admitted. "But I will fix it. This is not going to be the norm."

Maybe not this season. Maybe this season is a casualty and even though there are sparks from time to time, the coach knows 2012-13 will ultimately be a sacrifice for future successes.

The problem with that is Huggins himself says that he expected better. Much better. He scoffed before the season began that his Mountaineers had been chosen sixth in the Big 12 and now that prediction looks like a generous one.

"I never saw it coming," Huggins said. "I really, honestly never saw it coming. I thought we would be okay in the Big 12. I really did. I didn't see this coming."

There is no doubt that Huggins is in touch with his fan base and he is close enough to those who share their opinion about his failures that he feels the need to apologize. He does it after just about every loss and even some of the less convincing wins.

"I want to apologize to our fans, apologize to the people in the state of West Virginia. This is totally unacceptable. This is not what we're supposed to represent and hopefully they have enough faith in me that I will fix it."

It has gotten old, and no one knows that more than Huggins. To think he enjoys making statements like that, or that he somehow believes fans will just change their view of the current state of affairs simply because he asks them for faith is unwise.

It digs at him to say those things, to witness what leads to the words escaping his mouth. Right now, it's all he has. His word as a coach who is heading to the Hall of Fame when his career closes, trying to find a way to ensure that the final years bring his alma mater reason for excitement and for pride in its basketball program.

The Mountaineers play their next game at home on Wednesday when the worst team in the Big 12 – TCU (9-9, 0-5) – comes to the Coliseum. In the meantime, Huggins is doing what he can to find the fix, and it doesn't involve getting in the gym and working on shots.

"I'm going to go recruit, which obviously I really need to do," Huggins said. "I'll look at [TCU tape] on the plane on the way."

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WVILL. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.