Bob Huggins lights his legacy on fire
Plus: Cooper Flagg seems quite good at basketball
You might think this headline is late. Didn’t this happen already? Was it not applicable a few months ago, when Bob Huggins, in the Year of our Lord Two Thousand and Twenty Three, went on a Cincinnati radio show and called Xavier fans (and kind of/sort of all Catholics?) a homophobic slur? And was it not just glaringly obvious in June, when Huggins was arrested near Pittsburgh having been pulled off the road, unable to drive or even tell a police officer what city he was in, when he a blew an unbelievable .210 on a breathalyzer test — when he was lucky he didn’t kill himself or someone else?
And, well, yes, all very true. Those were awful things to do. But there’s a key distinction: Those were mistakes. Bad mistakes, but mistakes. You lose your job for mistakes. You apologize for them. You do some real work on yourself to make sure they don’t happen again. You go away. People are vocally judgmental, but deep down, we all intuitively get the concept of penance. We teach our children that everyone makes mistakes, to varying degrees, and that it’s how we respond that matters most of all. We all want to forgive. We all want to be forgiven. So folks acknowledge that you paid a price for what you did wrong. They respect you for paying it. Eventually, they go back to remembering the good times.
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It seemed like this was what Huggins was going to do. After the traffic stop — the details of which were genuinely shocking on their own terms, nevermind the radio show mess two months prior — there was no way the guy could keep his job. It was obvious he needed serious help. He seemed to understand this as well as anyone. He resigned quickly. He met with his team and gave them the bad news. The university announced said resignation, and got down to the business of trying to find a new coach and keep a stacked team of transfers together. It was a sad way to end a great coaching career, but at least Huggins had done the sensible, responsible thing.
Yeah. So. About that:
Former West Virginia University men’s head basketball coach Bob Huggins claims he did not resign from the school after he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Pittsburgh last month, his attorney said. Huggins wants to be reinstated as head coach or he’ll sue the university for breach of contract, according to his attorney.
“Based on press statements, it appears that WVU is taking the position that Coach Huggins voluntarily resigned and terminated the Employment Agreement in advance of April 30, 2024 [the date his contract was set to expire],” Huggins’ attorney, David Campbell, wrote in a July 7 letter obtained by CNN to West Virginia University President Gordon Gee.
“However, although the press statements purport to have resignation communications directly from Coach Huggins to you and/or the Athletic Director, Coach Huggins has never communicated his resignation to you, the Athletic Director, or anyone at WVU. To the contrary, we understand that the purported ‘resignation’ is incredibly based on a text message from Coach Huggins’ wife.”
Sorry, but what? How do you screw up a resignation? This isn’t the sort of thing that happens to a normal W2 employee, let alone someone with lots of money and well-remunerated counsel. This is the sort of thing you communicate clearly, in legal language, via a trusted intermediary. Or at the very least you type up a one-page letter that says “I resign as West Virginia men’s basketball coach” and attach it to an email, and then that’s the end of that.
Turns out, it seems like it makes no sense because it actually makes no sense.