4-5-07 - MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas State basketball coach Bob Huggins is leaving after one season to take the head coaching job at West Virginia. Wildcats athletic director Tim Weiser confirmed the news Thursday in a news conference.
Huggins will be returning to his alma mater to replace John Beilein, who left to become the head coach at Michigan earlier this week.
Huggins was born in Morgantown and played basketball for the
Mountaineers. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at West
Huggins went 23-and-12 with Kansas State this season, taking the
team to the NIT for their first post-season berth in eight years.
It was his first year back coaching after a year off following his dismissal from Cincinnati. He had a 399-127 mark with the Bearcats, including 15 N-C-A-A tournament appearances and the 1992 Final Four.
The Wildcats went 10-6 in the Big 12, their best finish since the conference formed in 1996 -- and still found themselves left out of the NCAA tournament, settling instead for an NIT bid that broke a seven-year postseason drought.
And despite the first season-ticket sellout ever in Bramlage Coliseum, which opened in 1987, Huggins found himself having to call out Kansas State's student fans for not showing up at games.
The late-season and NIT games were packed, though -- and with a
spectacular recruiting class headlined by 6-foot-9 Michael Beasley,
and the return of promising forward Bill Walker from a knee injury
that ended his freshman season after only six games, Wildcats fans
have been looking for even better things next season.
Kansas State could, of course, release the incoming freshmen
from their national letters of intent. But Greg Sankey, an associate commissioner with the Southeastern Conference, said there are other options if the school chooses not to do so.
Walker and the incoming freshmen could follow Huggins, even without a release from Kansas State, but would have to sit out a year and lose one year of eligibility.
Junior college is another option for the freshmen, but they would have to graduate -- which would require a two-year commitment, even if the players redshirted for one of those years.
"The fourth option is to appeal to the NLI steering committee for release," Sankey said. "The committee has said a person has to have extenuating circumstances, and a coach's departure is not an extenuating circumstance."