West Virginia’s win over Pitt in Friday night’s Backyard Brawl updated the history books of WVU men’s basketball.
For one, the Mountaineers earned their 100th win in history over its arch-rival, while extending their win streak over the Panthers to five. They also did it in front of 14,100 fans — the largest November crowd in the history of the WVU Coliseum — in the earliest sellout game in program history.
Head coach Bob Huggins continued his trek toward history, earning his 902nd win as a Division I head coach. That tied him with legendary Indiana coach Bob Knight for fifth on the all-time wins list, and just one behind Roy Williams.
Huggins, however, is known to shrug such milestones off. Even as he approached win 900 in 2020-21 and passed names like Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp, he simply said it was a testament to his longevity more than anything. On Friday, very little did his tone change.
“I don’t think about it, I really don’t,” he said. “I’ve got great respect for Coach Knight, he’s become a good friend of mine. I’m happy for Coach Knight, I really don’t — I don’t think about it.”
In press conferences, Huggins often references his father, Charlie, a legendary high school coach in Ohio who passed away in April. The WVU head coach brought his father’s name up once again on Friday, but this time it was a little different.
Huggins told the story of a woman in New Philadelphia, Ohio who wrote a poem about his father. The poem was “buried in the archives somewhere,” until her granddaughter found it when he passed away, and promptly sent it to Huggins.
“It’s the neatest thing in the world,” Huggins said. “I was just down there talking to my brother about it. I think more about that — I mean, what difference does it make? Does it really make a difference if I’ve won 902…does it matter? Not really.”
If it doesn’t matter to Huggins, it definitely matters to his fans and the University he represents. Shortly before the season opener against Oakland (his soon-to-be 901st win), athletic director Shane Lyons presented the coach with a commemorative jersey for his 900th victory, which he earned in the NCAA Tournament in March.
Huggins has the chance for 903 at the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic on Thursday against Elon. If he passes Williams for fourth place, the next name on the list he’ll chase will be UConn great Jim Calhoun, who earned 918 victories in his Division I career.