Huggins Finds Victory in Career Game No. 1,000 - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Huggins Finds Victory in Career Game No. 1,000

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MORGANTOWN -

Bob Huggins got career victory No. 722 on Saturday in his 1,000th game roaming the sidelines as a head coach.

Cruising to a 63-50 win over TCU in Fort Worth, West Virginia made sure the milestone day went smoothly for the man who leads the team into battle each time on the court.

"I've been very, very fortunate," Huggins said on his radio show following the game. "I've had great assistant coaches, I've had great loyalty from assistant coaches, I've had great players, I've had great people and I think the loyalty thing and the way that we all feel about each other is the most important thing."

It's days like this that make the mathematically-challenged among us feel like we got a free pass when we can say with confidence that the West Virginia head basketball coach has won 72.2 percent of his games.

Saturday was his most recent and while there won't be shirts made for it like last year in Las Vegas when the Mountaineers took down Missouri for win No. 700, it was still a chance for reflection for a man who began his career coaching at Walsh University in 1980.

In fact, all these years later, he still very much remembers game No. 1.

"The first was at Oberlin and I coached against a very dear friend of mine, Ed Janka, who then left coaching and became the basketball guy at Nike," Huggins recalled, referencing the Nike Championship Basketball Clinic Director. "Ed and I have remained very dear friends for a lot of year now and that was the first one and we were fortunate enough to win that one."

The thought then was to hang it up, Huggins joked.

"I was about ready to retire after being 1-0, you know? Retire undefeated and go on and do something else," he said.

Instead, he coached 999 more, with the counter still running as Saturday came to a close.

There were other, much smaller numbers that represented something much bigger for Huggins on this day. There was 500 as the Mountaineers finally got back to even in the conference at 5-5. Or 12, as in the total wins his team has this season and three, the current streak of victories that WVU has strung together.

"The exciting thing is now we're 5-5 in the league," Huggins said of defeating the Horned Frogs. "There will be some people who lose today that will come falling back to us. Now we go home, we take a day off, we go at it for two days, go to Waco and punch somebody in the mouth."

With 1,001 coming up on Wednesday, Huggins is readying the Mountaineers for their first of two games against Baylor as the regular season reaches the home stretch.

These markers throughout his career bring him a question that he faces more and more as he grows older.

"Everybody asks me all the time, ‘How much longer are you going to go?' I'm going to go as long as I feel like I can have enthusiasm and I'm not going to cheat the guys," the 59-year-old says. "When a day comes that I feel like, ‘Man, I've got to go do this?' then I'm not going to do it. I've got too much respect for players, having played. I've got too much respect for coaches and too much respect for the game. Being here now, at my alma mater, I think it makes it even more important that we give the absolute best effort we can possibly give because people deserve that."

After all of these years and all of the wins and the memories, the relationships with the people who have been by his side 722 times and everyday in between are what stand out to Huggins. He points to that loyalty, the familiar faces returning every year to check in on him through the journey, as the most rewarding aspect of the job.

"You've seen all those guys from Kenyon Martin and Nick Van Exel to whomever," Huggins says, reciting names from his Cincinnati days. "At the end of the day, that's the best thing about it."

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