Closing in on 700
- By Tony Caridi
- December 22, 2011 07:52 AM
LAS VEGAS – We are floating through the sky about 30 minutes before touching down in Las Vegas - 30 minutes before Bob Huggins arrives at the spot he’ll likely make history. Already fourth among active coaches in victories, Huggs is now just one win away from magical number 700.
Think about that number for a moment. I don’t care what you do; doing it successfully 700 times is tough. He may be the son of a coach, but he was never the silver-spoon son of a coach. He’s built his resumé at places, some of which fall into the category of tough jobs: Walsh, Akron, Cincinnati, Kansas State, and now West Virginia. He left each program in significantly better shape than when he arrived.
Huggins is a paradox in many ways. He’s old-school and new-school wrapped in one unconventional package. When it comes to defense there is no discussion, you either play aggressive, hard-nosed, in-your-face defense or take a seat on the bench. However, offensively, he’s liberal and doesn’t want to suffocate a player’s natural abilities and creativity.
When it comes to relationships with his players Huggins has no match. I’ve seen many coaches rip their players and lose them by the time February arrived. Huggs will rip, but often what’s missed is the one-on-one conversation that follows. His players know his bark is about making them better, and that’s why they respond rather than retreat.
There are a bunch of reasons why Bob Huggins is about to win game number 700, but perhaps the biggest is his ability to adjust to change while never letting go of the blue collar principles that he learned from his dad many years ago.
Tipoff for Thursday night's game against Missouri State is 8 p.m. Be sure to catch us on your favorite MSN station starting with the Coliseum Countdown at 7:30 p.m.
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