Last night the West Virginia Mountaineers fell to Iowa State in the men’s basketball team’s fifth loss in six games. Yes, you read that correctly, five losses in six games. The Mountaineers had a fifteen game win streak earlier this season, and everyone said ‘this was the year.’ I admit, I was even guilty of it (although, full disclosure I tend to feel that with all of our sports every year). Now, it seems the team is hitting a low we haven’t seen in a long time and it seems to be affecting the leader himself.
Following last night’s stunning loss to Iowa State, head coach Bob Huggins was quoted saying, “I’m 64 years old. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to do this, but I’m not leaving this program in bad shape.”
Let that quote settle in. Is Coach Huggins feeling the stress from the state of this team? Is it getting to be too much on him? This is a man who truly loves the State of West Virginia, West Virginia University and Mountaineer basketball. He is the embodiment of the program, but it seems that he too may be wearing thin of this tenuous life of coaching. Judging by just this quote, it seems Coach Huggins could be at a loss of how to fix this team, and maybe it’s starting to wear him down.
Coach Huggins is the seventh-most winningest coach currently coaching. He is West Virginia basketball. At the same time, he is used to having teams that are full of just as much fight he has. Watch Coach Huggins court side and it’s clear in seconds he has so much fight to give to this team. The same unfortunately cannot be said for his team right now. During his post-game conference, Coach Huggins made it known that his team lacks a leader at the moment that can help make the necessary adjustments his team is needing. This is not what anyone wants to hear as a team is lost without leadership and Huggins is known for strong leaders on his teams.
In teams of years past, there was always a player who could light a spark, or a raging fire in this case, to help steer the team back to where they need to be. It seems that Coach Huggins’ current team may be lacking just that, the fighting leadership and tenacity his teams tend to be known for. Coach Huggins seemed unsure of how to get his guys back on track after last night’s stunner, and seemed to feel that these may not be the right guys for his team.
Coach Huggins went on to say that Sagaba Konate is the most competitive on the court, while the others ” . . . Just stand and watch,” Huggins remarked. “But this just stands and watches and watches and watches.”
It sounds as if the future Hall of Fame coach could be coming to the end of the road much sooner than anyone thought, and it sounds as if it’s his team’s lack of competition, fight and desire for improvement that may be speeding him along. With Coach Huggins being the backbone of West Virginia basketball, one must ask how much more this team will put him through, how much more can he take and what are they going to do to show their coach that they too want this as much as he does?