LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The views from (warmer) here:
In case you missed it, Huggins has a rewritten contract and will now coach in Morgantown until, at least, 2017-18 before assuming an Emeritus status with WVU through 2023.
It was a very good move by Mountaineer athletic director Oliver Luck. There had been rumblings Huggins was getting more and more frustrated. While he always appears at all Mountaineer Athletic Club gatherings, other WVU coaches routinely bow out, even if such appearances are specifically called for in contracts.
Huggins gives much of his time. Perhaps that's why it was appropriate the contract extension was awarded at Thanksgiving.
"His passion, caring and love for the university and the state of West Virginia is incredible," said Luck.
That's why - if anyone deserves a $3 million coaching contract - it is Huggins. Perhaps more than his team's 2010 Final Four appearance, Huggins seared his imprint in the state's fabric with his appearance at the Upper Big Branch tragedy site and work with the UBB Family Fund. He's helped with causes from the state's Read Aloud program to the Norma Rae Huggins Cancer Fund in memory of his mother.
Of course, on the court, Huggins has led WVU to five straight NCAA tournament appearances, including that Final Four appearance and an amazing victory over an ultra-talented Kentucky team.
But Luck was smart to extend Huggins' contract for reasons beyond that. The coach not only is beloved in the Mountain State, he has incredible pull. If Luck needs a financial gift to his athletic program, whom is he going to send to meet a wealthy donor?
You know the answer. Maybe he could send football coach Dana Holgorsen - but with Huggins in tow to help.
Luck also must realize the unique situation he's in with Huggins. West Virginia University is not the most well-heeled university. Coaches like John Beilein and even state native Rich Rodriguez have used the school of late as a stepping stone.
More than likely that will continue with Holgorsen, if he succeeds. Huggins, though, is a slam-dunk Hall of Fame coach not looking to move on. He doesn't seem interested in moving to Michigan or Ohio State or any other larger school.
And where will Luck, or any other WVU athletic director, ever find a sure-fire Hall of Fame coach willing to do that after Huggins?
The coach, by the way, was thankful.
"The nice thing," he said, "is [WVU officials] came to me."
Elijah Macon, formerly of Huntington Prep, currently at Brewster Academy, is a four-star recruit. Brandon Watkins, a 6-foot-10 center and nephew of Huggins' friend Warren Baker, also had scholarship offers from Memphis, Clemson, Georgia and South Carolina.