The Need to Give

  • By John Antonik
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  • December 24, 2011 03:48 PM
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What does a 58-year-old man who has nearly everything need? The need to give, perhaps?

Bob Huggins became interested in donating his time to worthy causes while he was still coaching at Cincinnati. It began with hospital visits with his Bearcat players and soon branched out into other things. Since returning to West Virginia, Huggins has narrowed his focus down to two causes close to his heart - The Norma Rae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment and Hospice Fund and the Remember The Miners Scholars Program.

“The endowment we are doing at the Cancer Center in my mother’s name, it makes me feel good,” said Huggins last week. “We’ve all been affected by cancer in some form or another. We’ve all had family members … we’ve all cried because cancer has affected people that we love. It makes you feel good that you’re trying to do something. It makes me feel good that my mother would want that.”

Huggins’ other big interest is providing scholarship assistance to the siblings of coal miners. He realized that was the best way he could help and honor the families affected by the Upper Big Branch mining disaster that claimed the lives of 29 miners in April, 2010.

“When I went down to Montcoal and I went down to Upper Big Branch and you’re there and see the people and you feel the hurt … I didn’t know what to do. Jason Parsons says we should do a charity to give scholarships to siblings of miners and I thought, man, that’s a great idea.

“What else are you going to do?” Huggins said. “It’s awareness to those great people who risk their lives on a daily basis so the United States can have energy.”

Huggins says he is asked frequently to help a variety of causes, but he admits he is most interested in helping local charities.

“The endowment in my mother’s name stays right here in West Virginia,” he explained. “It stays right here at West Virginia University. Remember The Miner stays right here in the state of West Virginia and I think that’s important. I’ve done all kinds of stuff and then you look around and say, ‘Where did that money go?’ At least now I know where it’s going. I enjoy that.”

In fact, Huggins enjoys giving so much that he may one day consider doing it on a daily basis.

“Maybe at some point in my life I’d rather do that,” he said. “But I’m not there yet, though.”