INDIANAPOLIS – After the buzzer sounded in West Virginia’s 84:67 win over Morehead State in the first round of the NCAA tournament, coach and player Bob Huggins surrounded and hugged Huggy Bear.
The 67-year-old Huggins won his 900th career game on Friday, making it the sixth Division I basketball coach to reach the milestone (at least 10 seasons in Div. I). He joins Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, Roy Williams and Bob Knight under Div. I train with 900 wins.
Huggins will face Boeheim on Sunday when West Virginia, number 3 in the Midwest, faces number 11 Syracuse, who beat San Diego state 78-62 on Friday.
“I love these guys and it’s nice that they can be a part of it,” said Huggins of his players. “They enjoy it a lot more than I do, but that’s pretty neat. If you have something to look back on and who to share with, hopefully it’s one of the positive things that has happened in your athletic career. However, you have Taken long enough It took us three games to finally get there. “
West Virginia dropped its last two games before the NCAA tournament in Oklahoma State, so Huggins had to wait until Friday to reach 900th place. The Mountaineers opened the game on a 17-6 run and then fell back in the middle of the first half before controlling the game for most of the final 13 minutes.
The second guard, Miles McBride, hit a career high of 30 in 11-of-17 shooting and had six assists in 36 minutes. Three other WVU players posted double-digit results, including striker Derek Culver who weathered a difficult first half with 12 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
“It means a lot to be there for him to get his 900th win. I’m really glad we did it today,” said McBride.
Huggins added, “That was the topic of conversation. It wasn’t mine – it was hers telling you what kind of guys they are. We have really good guys.”
In his 39th season in 1980, Huggins first became the head coach of Walsh College, an NAIA program now known at the time as Walsh University, and won 71 games in three seasons. He then moved to Akron and appeared in an NCAA tournament for the first time in 1986.
Huggins spent 16 seasons in Cincinnati and led the Bearcats to the 1992 Final Four and 14 consecutive NCAA tournaments. He spent a season in Kansas State before arriving in West Virginia, his alma mater. Huggins led the WVU to a Final Four in 2010, four more Sweet Sixteen appearances, and ten trips to the NCAA tournament.
He is 900-381 as the head coach with 25 NCAA tournament appearances and a 34-24 record in the event.