PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — West Virginia University men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins announced his resignation and retirement less than 24 hours after Pittsburgh police charged him with DUI.
Cynthia Yothers was walking down Merchant Street from Ridge Avenue Friday night when she saw police, flashing lights and a black SUV in the middle of the road.
“I’m sure there was no accident, nobody got hurt or anything,” Yothers said. “It looked like his tire was damaged in some way, maybe hit a curb or something.”
However, she had no idea who was behind the wheel, West Virginia University Hall-of-Fame men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins, 69.
Pittsburgh police say an officer found him getting into the driver’s side of an SUV just before 8:30 p.m., the car blocking traffic with a flat, shredded tire.
According to the criminal complaint, when the officer attempted to assist Huggins, he noticed he was having trouble driving the car and “almost [hit] The wall behind him.” The officer then flashed his lights and called for backup.
Court records say Huggins failed standard field sobriety tests and had a BAC of 0.210, more than twice the legal limit. Officers also saw textbook signs of intoxication, including slurred speech and glassy eyes, and found two trash bags filled with empty beer cans in the WVU leased SUV.
Huggins didn’t realize he was in Pittsburgh, police said. Instead, he told them he was in Columbus, Ohio for a basketball camp. He told them that the last thing he remembered was stopping at a Burger King in Washington around 1:30 p.m.
Huggins was the head coach at WVU for 16 years. Previously, he was the head coach at the University of Cincinnati before he was fired following a similar incident. Surveillance video from that 2004 incident shows Huggins again failing a field sobriety test. Police charged him with DUI, but he pleaded no contest and was fired the following year.
In May, WVU suspended Huggins for three games and took a $1 million cut after he used a homophobic slur on the radio in Cincinnati.
Before he announced his resignation, WVU students, alumni and fans had mixed reactions to Huggins’ recent DUI.
A former player, Drew Schifino, didn’t play under Huggins but has been linked with the coach. He told KTKA that he was “so respectful [Huggins],” and “It’s unfortunate that this happened.” Schifino also said he believed the incident was “not bad.” [Huggins’] legacy,” but he “couldn’t defend what [Huggins] did.”
Huggins was released from custody pending a future preliminary hearing.
On Saturday night, Huggins issued a statement saying his actions did not represent the university and that he allowed everyone to do so, including himself.
Today, I submitted a letter to President Gordon Key and Vice President and Athletic Director Ren Baker informing them of my resignation and immediate retirement as West Virginia University’s head men’s basketball coach.
My recent actions do not represent the values of the University or the leadership expected in this role. Although I have always tried to represent our university with respect, I have let you all – and myself – down. I take sole responsibility for my conduct and sincerely apologize to the university community – especially the student-athletes, coaches and staff in our program. I need to do better and plan to spend the next few months focusing on my health and my family so I can be the person they deserve.
Leading the men’s basketball program at my alma mater has been the honor of my professional career and I am proud of our accomplishments. But I am so proud of the great young men who have chosen to spend time with us and have gone on to do great things in their lives.
I was born in Morgantown, graduated from West Virginia University and had the pleasure of coaching here for seventeen seasons as an assistant or head coach. It will always be my home and I will always be a mountaineer.
Thank you to everyone who has supported our program over the years. It means more to me and my family than you will ever know.
WVU President Gordon Gee and Vice President/Athletic Director Ren Baker also released a statement.
Coach Huggins has informed us of his intention to retire and has submitted his letter of resignation, which we have accepted in light of recent events. We support his decision to focus on his health and family.
On behalf of West Virginia University, we share our appreciation for his service to our university, our community and our state. During his time as a student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach, Coach Huggins dedicated himself to his players, our student body, our fans and alumni, and all West Virginians. His contributions will always be a part of our history.
In the coming days, we will focus on supporting the student-athletes in our men’s basketball program and solidifying leadership for our program.