PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - West Virginia University Men's Basketball Coach Bob Huggins announced his resignation and intent to retire less than 24 hours after Pittsburgh police charged him with DUI, a last straw after coming under fire for multiple recent incidents.
Cynthia Yothers was walking on Merchant Street off Ridge Avenue Friday night when she came across police, flashing lights, and a black SUV in the middle of the road.
"I was hoping there wasn't an accident and anybody was hurt or anything," Yothers said. "It looked as if his tire had been damaged some way, maybe hit a curb or whatever."
However, she didn't know who was behind the wheel, Bob Huggins, 69, the Hall-of-Fame men's basketball coach for West Virginia University.
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Pittsburgh police said an officer found him getting into the driver's side of the SUV just before 8:30 p.m. The car was blocking traffic, with a flat, shredded tire.
According to the criminal complaint, as the officer tried to help Huggins, she noticed he was having trouble driving the car, and "almost [hit] the wall behind him." The officer then put her lights on and called for backup.
Court records said Huggins failed standard field sobriety tests and had a 0.210 BAC, more than twice the legal limit. Officers also saw he had textbook signs of intoxication, including slurred speech and glassy eyes, and discovered two garbage bags filled with empty beer cans in the SUV which was leased by WVU.
Police said Huggins didn't realize he was in Pittsburgh. Instead, he told them he thought he was in Columbus, Ohio, for a basketball camp. He told them the last thing he remembered was stopping at a Burger King in Washington, Pa. around 1:30 p.m.
Huggins was the head coach at WVU for 16 years. Before that, he was the head coach at the University of Cincinnati, before he was fired following a similar incident. Surveillance video from that incident in 2004 shows Huggins once again failing a field sobriety test. Police charged him with DUI, but he pleaded no contest, and was fired the next year.
In May, WVU placed Huggins on a three-game suspension and docked his pay by $1 million, after using a homophobic slur on the radio in Cincinnati.
Before announcing his resignation, WVU students, alumni, and fans had mixed reactions to Huggins' latest DUI.
Former player, Drew Schifino, didn't play under Huggins, but is connected to the coach. He told KDKA he has "so much respect for [Huggins]," and "it's just unfortunate this happened." Schifino also said he hopes the incident doesn't "tarnish [Huggins'] legacy," but said he "can't defend what [Huggins] did."
Huggins was released from custody pending a future preliminary hearing.
Late Saturday night, Huggins released a statement saying his actions don't represent the university and he let everyone done including himself.
Today, I have submitted a letter to President Gordon Gee and Vice President and Director of Athletics Wren Baker informing them of my resignation and intention to retire as head men's basketball coach at West Virginia University effective immediately.
My recent actions do not represent the values of the University or the leadership expected in this role. While I have always tried to represent our University with honor, I have let all of you - and myself - down. I am solely responsible for my conduct and sincerely apologize to the University community - particularly to the student-athletes, coaches and staff in our program. I must do better, and I plan to spend the next few months focused on my health and my family so that I can be the person they deserve.
It has been the honor of my professional career to lead the men's basketball program at my alma mater and I take great pride in our accomplishments. But I am most proud of the tremendous young men who chose to spend their formative years with us, and who have gone on to do great things with their lives.
I was born in Morgantown, graduated from West Virginia University and had the pleasure of coaching here for seventeen seasons as an assistant or head coach. It will always be my home, and I will always be a Mountaineer.
Thank you to everyone who has supported our program over the years. It has meant more to me and my family than you could ever know.
WVU President Gordon Gee and Vice President/Director of Athletics Wren Baker also released a statement.
Coach Huggins informed us of his intent to retire and has submitted his letter of resignation, and we have accepted it in light of recent events. We support his decision so that he can focus on his health and family.
On behalf of West Virginia University, we share our appreciation for his service to our University, our community and our state. During his time as a student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach, Coach Huggins devoted himself to his players, to our student body, to our fans and alumni and to all West Virginians. His contributions will always be a part of our history.
In the days ahead, we will focus on supporting the student-athletes in our men's basketball program and solidifying leadership for our program.
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