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Rick Reilly v. Bob Huggins

March 31, 2010

Rick Reilly hates Bob Huggins. Hates him good. Like really hates him….and that’s awesome, cause Bob Huggins is the type of guy that might actually fight Rick Reilly. Let’s hope this happens. On to the column.

I don’t like Bob Huggins. Don’t like his zero-point-zero graduation rates. Don’t like his three-hour practices. Don’t like the Vegas sweatsuit top. The artless, sledgehammer style of his teams that sucks all the air out of the gym. Not to mention the joy. Still, Huggins is brutally effective, kind of like a Russian gulag, only with slightly less charm. If his West Virginia Mountaineers win this Final Four, I’d hate to be a CBS tape editor. There may not be One Shining Moment.

First of all, can we PLEASE stop comparing sports figures to murderous Soviet Marxists? That would be just great. Let’s pass along the memo to Jerry Thornton as well. This whole motif is insanely stupid. Insulting to the coach or person you hate, yes, but far more insulting to the people and their families, who, you know, actually went through the gulag.

Second of all, I don’t think Huggins’ teams suck the air out of the gym. If anything, their fans get, perhaps, a little too into the game. And actually, here’s Huggins telling his fans to stop throwing things at the Pitt bench. Sounds like a real asshole.

And, like ZOMG, three hour practices!!1! You’re kidding!?!? C’mon Reilly, everyone in college basketball practices a lot. It’s basically these kids’s job. Like it or not. If you hate three hour practices, then you’re gonna have to hate a lot of coaches.

But seriously, go see Rick Pitino, he runs a freaking North Korean prison camp…ZING!

Don’t get him. Don’t admire him. Don’t understand his nickname — Huggy Bear. The man is about as huggy as an ulcerous porcupine. It’s like calling Dick Cheney “Smiley.”

His nickname is ironic, Reilly. Ironic. Good gracious.

But I do get that a whole lot of people love him and one of them, Joe Mazzulla, has a story that makes me wonder if I’m wrong.

We’re gonna skip a little bit while Reilly prattles on about Joe Mazzulla and some injury he had, yadda yadda yadda. So, how did Huggy Bear handle the situation?

Mazzulla came to him on that day with tears in his eyes. “Coach, you think I’ll ever play again?” And Huggins took him by the shoulders, looked him in the eyes and said, “Well, you’re always talking about you being the best soccer player in the state of Rhode Island; you can always go play soccer. You don’t need arms for that.”

See? Lovable!

He was joking, dude. I think. Even if he wasn’t, who cares? Because guess what happened next?

But Huggins brought back Mazzulla as soon as he could dribble, even though Mazzulla couldn’t even shoot a jumper.

He even put Mazzulla and his 6-foot-2 frame under the basket in his 1-3-1 zone D. Put a shrimp under the basket when he could raise only one arm!

See!!! Bob Huggins is a bastard!!! That poor little Mazzulla fella, I’ll be that made him feel like crap. (Hint: It probably actually made him feel pretty good).

Sticking with Mazzulla against all sanity proved even smarter when WVU’s best guard, Darryl “Truck” Bryant, broke a bone in his foot last week and couldn’t play in the Sweet 16 weekend.

So, as reward, Mazzulla went out and beat Kentucky for Huggins on Saturday night in Syracuse. And when he was done making his first 3 of the year and scoring a season-high 17 points and pestering Kentucky’s big men the way mice pester elephants (at one point, Kentucky’s huge center, DeMarcus Cousins, looked down at Mazzulla and said, “Are you being serious right now?”) and becoming the East Region MVP in a 73-66 win, he went looking to hug one man — Huggins.

“I had to find him,” Mazzulla says, “I never want him to forget that I love him. What he did for me, how he stuck with me, nobody else would’ve done it.”

I can just see Reilly rolling his eyes here. “Yeah. Whatever. Meanie.”

And he’s not the only one on the team. They all talk about “Huggs” like he’s their favorite IRS auditor. “We all have one thing in common,” says Mazzulla. “We’re all trying not to get yelled at by Huggs.”

Same goes for the parents, sort of. “I like him,” says Karen West, mother of shooting guard Jonnie West and wife of West Virginia and Los Angeles Lakers legend Jerry West, “but I just wish he could coach without all the swearing.”

So, Reilly just listed off a bunch of people who actually know Huggins and they all like him. A lot. Except for the swearing part. But you show me a basketball coach who doesn’t swear and I’ll show you, I don’t know, a Gryphon-Unicorn hybrid creature.

There’s no point in going over all the reasons Huggins is bad for basketball. That’s just kicking a man when he’s up.

So stop writing. That would be good. Honestly, what is the point of this column? Other than making yourself look like a fool. Because you keep saying he’s awful, but everyone who’s close to the guy loves him….maybe you should turn your hatred to someone like Rick Pitino, who actually coaches a lot like Huggins, but he’s also a sleazebag.


West Virginians and Bob Huggins are the perfect fit. They’re both gritty and loyal and not particularly interested in what people think of them. Do you realize that they pipe the play-by-play of West Virginia games down into the coal mines now?

Otherwise, according to the state’s governor, too many workers try to get out of working their shifts. Come to think of it, Huggins would’ve made a good mine worker. He’s hard-working, a little dirty, and happiest in places where the light doesn’t shine too brightly.

Honestly, what’s wrong with that? I get all the West Virginia cliches and jokes, but what’s wrong with working hard, and getting dirty, and listening to WVU basketball games in the mine? Nothing’s wrong with that. Now that I think about it, Reilly is showing a pretty good knack for pissing on entire groups of people, like Canada, and now West Virginia.

I get why some people love Huggy Bear, but I’m just never going to be one of them.

And when they put him in the Hall of Fame, I think I’m going to hurl.

You really feel that strongly about it? That’s pretty harsh, buddy. And still, I’m not sure I understand why. Seriously, Reilly has managed to write yet another column in which their really is not point. All I can gather is that Reilly doesn’t like three hour practices or intense, somewhat harsh coaches, which means he really should like any coach. This makes my head hurt.

What I do know is that Reilly insulted Huggins and West Virginia…so add them to Canada and a host of other places that are now out to get Reilly.

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. Sean permalink
    April 1, 2010 8:10 pm

    Yeah, at this point Reilly is making a mockery of his contract. Like, let’s see what nonsense I can get past the editor type stuff. Whatever. What I’d like is to find someone who actually enjoys Reilly. I promise you they also enjoy CSI: Miami and Hootie and the Blowfish.

  2. Chad permalink
    April 2, 2010 1:07 pm

    Fuck Reilly, he is a piece of shit!

  3. April 2, 2010 1:34 pm

    Reilly’s writing is pathetic and pointless. He does not “know” the real Huggs. WV may be small but they protect their own and Huggs is a Mountaineer through and through. We are proud of him, proud of our hard-fighting team (win or lose) and know what makes a real man and Reilly does not qualify.

  4. Mike permalink
    April 2, 2010 7:43 pm

    this is the first time I’ve seen this site, and I spent the last three hours reading almost everything. Thank you for this site. I go to WVU and I know for a fact that Huggs is loved by damn near all. Rick Reilly is a punk who is just piggy backing on all the controversy that has been thrown at WVU this year. This douche needs to be fired.

  5. Brian permalink
    April 3, 2010 3:40 pm

    Rick Reilly sucks and is annoying, but everything points to Bob Huggins not being a good guy. Hopefully all you loser WV fans will keep “protecting your own” and end up getting bit in the ass again….kind of like what happened to all your past coaches. Fuck you.

  6. Pat permalink
    April 4, 2010 8:59 am

    Bob Huggins is sack of dung. If he loves his players so much how come none of them graduate? Last night’s pathetic display was clearly a spur of the moment PR scam- and it worked to convince the dimmer bulbs of this nation. By the way- Butler has a sprained knee…they should give him an academy award for best actor and huggins should get supporting actor.

    • Jeff Chappell permalink
      April 6, 2010 3:34 am

      By the way, Butler has a torn ACL. You and Reilly should both be given Doh! for Dummies Award.

      • Tapps permalink*
        April 6, 2010 9:58 am

        In fairness to Pat here…the initial, in-game prognosis was a sprained knee (it looks like he wrote the comment during the game). Otherwise, I would say, encouraging your players to go to the NBA and earn untold millions is a special kind of love.

  7. Jason permalink
    April 4, 2010 7:05 pm

    For the record Pat, Da’Sean tore his ACL. Check your facts before you run your fucking mouth next time. You are probably just some pissed off Notre Dame or UNC fan anyway. I know Huggs through assistant coach Billy Hahn. He may cuss, yell, and get fired up but do you mean to tell me that you people don’t do the same thing. Off the basketball court he is a class act. So he has a DUI, how many people in America get DUI’s now anyway. Not sure about this but didn’t George Bush have one too at some point in his life. You talk about the graduation rates at Cincinnati, that’s not his fault. He can’t hold a kids hand and take him to class and make him study. He loves our state and has taken our program to a level higher than ever before. We do protect our own and no matter what happens Huggy Bear will always bleed blue and gold and be a part of Mountaineer nation. I know we lost in the final four, but we were champions of the best conference in college basketball period and knocked out Kentucky when only 1 state in the ESPN poll thought we would…. guess who that state was… West By God Virginia. Talk your shit, call us rednecks and whatever else you dumbasses want. Did you know that Morgantown, home of the Mountaineers, has the best unemployment rate of ANY city in the country? Probably not. Let’s Go Mountaineers!!! We are all proud of you guys and are praying for Da’Sean

  8. April 8, 2010 12:22 pm

    Rick Reilly obviously doesn’t know the meaning of tough love…He must have been coddled throughout his life. Any fan of basketball or a particular coach will tell you that we are not a fan of a coach’s personal life. Why? Because we don’t care about his personal life. I enjoy basketball and I do not care if the players graduate or not. Firstly, these players are men. Men make their own decisions. If they decide not to go to class, that is their choice. When did we forget that these men are in charge of their own lives and therefore are responsible for all repercussions. Second, professors are supposed to notify the athletic director of any failing grades for scholarship students. The athletic director then owes it to the board and boosters to make sure that students on athletic scholarships live up to the minimum grade point average required to keep the scholarship. Lastly, it is the job of the basketball coach(Huggins) to…You guessed it, coach basketball. This should clear up the chain of command for any of you haters out there. basketball coaches are not professors, mothers, fathers, guidance counselors, nor are they the conscience of the young man who decides whether to attend class or not. This is what grade school and high school coaches are for.

    As fans of the game, I say to hell with what goes on in anyone’s personal lives, and let’s get back to what is important, not to the players, but to the fans… THE GAME OF F’ING BASKETBALL!

  9. Not Rick permalink
    April 14, 2010 12:47 pm

    Wow, I just came across this site. I read this article a few weeks ago on and it made me want to punch Reilly in the face, hard. This site is incredible, since I thought I was the only one who hated Rick Reilly.

    What a fucking asshole he is. Fuck, I hate this guy. Thankfully, I’m not the only one. How much longer until he is not writing?

    As you wrote on the home page…YES, his references are such fucking garbage. “Hey, look at me, I might be some 60 year old who can’t get a hard-on, but I’m going to use slang and talk shit like I’m 16!”

    This guy couldn’t be more lame and less professional. There aren’t that many people I truly hate, but this guy has deserved to get his fucking ass kicked for years now. Huggins would beat this shit out of this little pussy too.

    Thanks for all the disparaging words about one of the true fucking assholes in the world today.

    Fuck you Rick Reilly!

    (I like how you can’t comment on his articles, only email him. I’m guessing because he’d get thousands of responses telling him to go fuck himself. He probably gets plenty of these emails, but that does take a bit longer than just commenting.)

  10. December 13, 2010 4:36 am

    Reilly just posted an article lauding over dog torturer/murderer Michael Vick that demanded his critics forgive him and believe in his “transformation.” And yet here he commits libel–slamming Huggs for past transgressions while refusing to recognize the W. Virginia native’s dedication to the players he coaches. WVU basketball graduation rates are excellent. Huggins’ display of affection after Butler’s ACL tear in the Final Four was beyond heartwarming. West Virginia loves you, Coach Huggins. Rick Reilly is a hack.

  11. Mike permalink
    February 5, 2012 4:53 pm

    I felt the same way about another worker at one time. I finally got over it and realized that I was just simply jealous. He was more popular than me.

  12. Dustin permalink
    March 13, 2012 4:54 pm

    Huggins is a scumbag. I would rather have my schools team continue to finish last in the conference every year than have them hire this abomination that has no place in amatuer athletics. He produces more convicted felons than college graduates.

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