Entering Saturday, April 3rd, 2010, I had trouble deciding who to root for in the second semifinal game of the NCAA Tournament.
It was between Duke and West Virginia.
Duke is Duke. The Blue Devils are hated by so many college basketball fans.
And then West Virginia is coached by Bob Huggins.
Up until Saturday night's game, Huggins was second on my list of most hated college basketball coaches (right behind John Calipari).
Huggins has his poor graduation rates and his stupid jumpsuit. How could this man be loved so much in West Virginia?
On Saturday night, I got my answer.
Da'Sean Butler crashed to the floor after a collision with Duke's Brian Zoubek with 8:59 left in the first half.
Right away, Huggins went running out to Butler, who was lying on the court.
Huggins went over to him and talked to him and comforted him . Huggins was so close to him, that for a second I though he might give Butler a comforting kiss on the lips.
In fact, after seeing his extreme compassion for his players throughout Saturday's game, I would not be surprised if he needed to hold something back due to being in front of 70,000 people and on national television.
Huggins continued to coach from the sidelines for the next eight minutes. He then did what almost all coaches would do by taking a timeout with 1:08 left to remove his starters.
As the players got their ovations, the camera shifted to show the West Virginia teammates embracing each other on the sideline.
While two West Virginia players hugged, Huggins pulled them over to get in on the love.
Not only does Huggins infinitely love his players, but the players love him back. He continues to get complements from players and coaches.
West Virginia's Wellington Smith said that playing for Huggins is "a great experience and [he] would not trade it for anything in the world."
Frank Martin, the current coach of Kansas State and a former assistant of Huggins, said, "There's not a better human being in this business than Bob Huggins."
I had always heard about how Huggins is a great guy, coach, friend, and mentor, but I had never been able to believe it.
To me, he was always just another sleazy guy like Tommy Amaker and John Calipari.
Now, despite him still having a little bit of that sleazy side hanging onto him, I can see what makes him so beloved at West Virginia.
I guess that now I can see why he is Bob "Huggy Bear" Huggins.
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