Jeff Porcello and Pete Thamel3 minutes of reading
West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins was arrested on a drunken driving charge Friday night, putting his future with the program in jeopardy with the second controversy in the past six weeks.
“We are gathering additional information and will take appropriate action once the review is complete,” the school said in a statement on Saturday.
According to a statement from the Pittsburgh Police Public Information Officer, police observed a black SUV blocking traffic shortly before 8:30 p.m. Friday. The vehicle had a “flat and shredded tire” and the driver’s side door was open.
After directing the driver, identified as Robert Huggins, 69, of Morgantown, West Virginia, to move the vehicle off the road, officers found Huggins having trouble operating the SUV and pulled him over. Officers questioned Huggins, believing him to be intoxicated and asked him to perform field sobriety tests, which he failed.
Huggins was arrested and charged with DUI. He was later released and a preliminary hearing was set for a later date.
There were already signs that the 2023-24 season was the final one for Huggins. Along with a $1 million pay cut and suspension as a result of his use of an anti-gay slur on a Cincinnati radio station, Huggins was essentially given a one-year guaranteed contract, a rarity in college sports.
The contract amendment was essentially a signal that West Virginia officials would control Huggins’ future and ease the transition for the next hire without worrying about having to pay him a significant amount of money.
Huggins’ arrest will put pressure on West Virginia officials, who said they were outraged by his comments and will have to fight internally to keep him next season amid public pressure.
In a joint statement after Huggins’ radio comments, president Gordon Key and athletic director Ren Baker called the slurs “inexcusable” and said the comments “tarnished West Virginia University.”
Huggins, a native of Morgantown who played for the Mountaineers in college, coached at his alma mater since 2007 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2022. He has led the Mountaineers to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, including the final. In 2010. Huggins spent one season at Kansas State after leading Cincinnati to 14 straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 1992 to 2005.
Huggins was charged with driving under the influence in 2004 while in Cincinnati. This led to a conflict with then-varsity president Nancy Zimmer, which resulted in Huggins resigning as the Bearcats’ coach.
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