The View from H'eer: The Bob Huggins Phenomenon

Major KelchnerCorrespondent INovember 30, 2007

IconI wasn’t necessarily for Bobby Huggins being the next coach at WVU.

I was a skeptic. I like the 1-3-1. I like watching guys shoot 231,942 threes per game.

I liked “Beilein-ball.”

That being said, I wasn’t really against Bob Huggins, I just thought we could keep the system we have come to love and get away with a cheaper, younger coach that would have a legacy on his mind when he came.

In the end, it was probably just a stepping stone, but it seemed logical.

I’ll eat the crow on this one. I was wrong. DEAD WRONG.

People who aren’t from West Virginia cannot understand West Virginia pride. They can’t understand what it means to be a Mountaineer. Sometimes I think, “Well, I’m sure so and so feels that way about their state.” But it is obvious that they don’t.

That’s why I’m not sure that Kansas State fans, or the rest of the country can understand. I can try to explain this until I’m blue and gold in the face, but if I can’t get my wife to understand, I don’t think I can make anyone who calls Manhattan, Kansas home or is a talking head on a national sports network understand either.

I guess it’s just how it is.

When Bob Huggins was introduced at his inaugural press conference, the first thing out of his mouth was “It’s great to be home.”

I think I fell on the Huggins side of the fence at that point. It became apparent though the whole press conference that basketball aside, money aside, everything aside, Bob Huggins was just glad to be home.

I can't remember seeing a press conference where the coach being introduced comes in and hugs a dozen people or so sitting the in front row, before taking the podium.  I had never seen a coach gush like this.

He then hit us with the tales of sitting on his grandfather’s lap, playing hoops near the coal shoot, stories about Jerry West and more. I was glued. I was in awe. I was excited. If most WVU basketball fans are honest, they were the same way.

It was was especially interesting when he was making comments about making the state proud.

Fast forward to the beginning of the season and the 4-1 Mountaineers.
To say this is a different team would be an understatement.
The cast is the same, but the script has changed.
The players are bigger after several months in the weight room.
The defense is ultra aggressive man-to-man (24.2 turnovers forced per game).
Each game, it is obvious they are getting closer to finding their place in the Huggy-ball scheme.
At this point in the season, the Mountaineers have played only one marquee game, a two-point loss to then 7th ranked Tennessee.
The trust test for the Mountaineers won't come until rigorous Big East play begins, but so far, Bob Huggins has the Mountain State's stamp of approval.