Huggins talks up benefit organization for miners
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- West Virginia University men's basketball coach Bob Huggins took a break from his visit to the Greenbrier Classic on Friday to discuss raising awareness about coal miners.
For the second year, Huggins has joined with Greenbrier resort owner Jim Justice, a coal company owner, to raise money for Remember the Miners, an organization formed after the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster.
Remember the Miners worked with the Greenbrier Classic's Badges for Charity program, so a percentage of the proceeds from those badge sales went back to the Remember the Miners Scholars Program.
Scholarships go to children whose parents are coal miners or to students who plan to pursue mining as a profession, said Jason Parsons, president of Remember the Miners.
Huggins said the organization made a commitment to provide money only for West Virginia children.
"Those people from Kentucky are trying to sneak in," Huggins said, shaking his head.
The organization awarded five or six scholarships in the fall of 2011, Parsons said. There were 14 scholarships in the spring of 2012, and Parsons said he's hoping to give out 25 this fall.
On Friday, Huggins said talking about coal miners was especially relevant considering the widespread power outages across West Virginia this week. When people can't flip a light switch on or take a hot shower, they begin to think differently, he said.
"You start to realize what the people in this state do and what they're about," Huggins said.