MONTVILLE, CT – Veteran NCAA basketball reporter Andy Katz is well versed with Bob Huggins.
In an interview with Gold and Blue Nation on Friday, Katz said he covered Huggins while the Bear was coaching at Cincinnati in the 1990s. More recently, Katz has reported on and analyzed Huggins’ teams at Kansas State and West Virginia for NCAA.com and Turner Sports.
In a relationship that goes back 30 years, Katz knows that the Huggins fans sometimes see on the court or in front of a microphone isn’t all Huggins is. No, the Hall of Famer is much more than that.
“He is definitely a person that, when you get to know him, there’s a lot more depth to him,” Katz said. “He may have one persona on the court of being very boisterous. He’s very reserved off (the court), but there’s incredible thoughtfulness to him.”
Not only is Katz familiar with Huggins, the coach and the person, but he is also familiar with the loyalty that surrounds the head coach. That loyalty comes from his many years as a head coach, and the success he’s had both on and off the court.
“I would put him in a small category of people – coaches I should say -, whose players and former coaches are incredibly loyal to him,” Katz said. “He’s got this loyalty, also, to the state of West Virginia.”
The longtime basketball reporter did not mince words, either, on his thoughts about how long it took Huggins, who has amassed 916 victories in his career, to receive admittance into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
“He should’ve been in the Hall of Fame years ago,” said Katz. “This is well deserved.”
Katz described Huggins tenures at Cincinnati (399 wins) and West Virginia (326 wins and counting) as “Hall of Fame stops.” That’s an apt description considering Huggins is one of just two coaches in NCAA men’s basketball history to win 300 or more games at two universities.
Hall of Fame head coach, and close friend, Roy Williams is this other.
Fellow Hall of Famers Jerry West and Rod Thorn, both of whom are also WVU legends in their own right, will introduce Huggins at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony Saturday night.
“Jerry West is obviously Mr. West Virginia. He’s the (NBA) Logo. It makes sense that Jerry West would be one of the presenters for Bob Huggins,” Katz added.
Friday was the first of two days of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame celebrations for the Class of 2022 inductees.
Huggins spoke to the media Friday afternoon, where he spoke of his time growing up in West Virginia, idolizing West, and of the impact of his father, who was a legendary high school basketball coach in the state of Ohio.
Not only was Huggins celebrated in Connecticut at the Mohegan Sun Casino & Resort, but he was also celebrated in his home state.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (R) announced that September 10 will be known as Bob Huggins Day.
Huggins spoke about what that meant in an exclusive interview with Gold and Blue Nation.
Stick with Gold and Blue Nation for more stories and interviews detailing this historic weekend for Huggins. Our coverage is presented by The Health Plan, Little General Stores and Pritt & Spano.