"When you're scrambling around trying to find a place to practice it's not a good deal,'' Huggins said. "We needed a place to practice.''
It would seem on the surface that the Coliseum is more than an adequate place for a basketball team to practice. Roll back the floor-level bleachers and there's not only the full-sized court in the middle, but two other near-regulation courts beside it.
And if it was just one basketball team, or even two, that was using the space, it would work just fine.
"This building is used for basketball during basketball season, but it's also a phys ed building,'' Huggins said of the Coliseum, which is now in its early 40s. "And it's also volleyball and it's also women's basketball and wrestling and gymnastics and Lady Antebellum [who played a concert there a week ago today] and graduation and everything else. A lot of people don't understand that.''
Of course, things have improved in recent years with the construction of the school's recreation center a few hundred yards down Patteson Drive. There are multiple basketball courts there and it has taken a load off the Coliseum, but it is still a shared facility.
"When I was [a student] here we couldn't play full court in the Coliseum because then it was pretty much the rec center,'' Huggins said. "I wanted a place where our guys could go work on their games. I wanted them to have opportunities that a lot of people who played there didn't have.
"And what I said was if we're going to do this, why not do it right? Why would we want to be like a lot of people and build it and then say, 'Man, I wish I'd have done this' or 'I wish I'd have done that.' ''
Part of the facility is the entranceway that will be open to the public. It's a museum dedicated to WVU basketball, from the scoreboard and backboard taken from Stansbury Hall to the torn uniform worn by Joe Mazzulla when he was the MVP of the East Regional on the way to the 2010 Final Four and everything in between.
"We've never had a place where we can show the greatness and the history of West Virginia basketball,'' said Huggins, whose mid-1970s warm-up is also on display. "Kids growing up don't know who Fritz Williams was. That's a shame. People don't know who Wil Robinson was. That's a shame. So I thought as long as we were doing it we could put a place in there where we can show the history and the greatness of West Virginia basketball.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.