Bob Huggins doubled down on his tedious legal Hail Mary on Monday, releasing a lengthy statement on letterhead that was titled “West Virginia University Head Basketball Coach” under his name.
Problem is, Josh Eilert is officially the head coach of the Mountaineers.
The statement follows a bizarre back-and-forth late Saturday night between a new attorney representing Huggins and the university, in which lawyer David A. Campbell maintained Huggins never resigned following a DUI arrest last month.
In fact, Campbell threatened to sue if West Virginia did not reinstate Huggins. Meanwhile, two other attorneys for Huggins have been actively working with WVU on retirement benefits.
On Monday, Huggins followed up on his own to say that he “never submitted the notice required under the Employment Agreement to voluntarily resign.”
“Now that I have obtained counsel to review the Employment Agreement and have seen WVU’s comments about my current status, it is clear that WVU did not handle the situation appropriately,” Huggins wrote. “More importantly, the basketball program is in need and I have a strong desire to conclude my career as the Head Basketball Coach for the program that I love. I hope to meet with WVU in the near future to resolve this situation.”
Not to be outdone, West Virginia released its own four-page letter Monday. That letter did not address Huggins’ statement but instead delved into the details from the Saturday night imbroglio.
West Virginia was firm and quick in its response Saturday night and it remained firm Monday that Huggins will never be coach of the Mountaineers again.
“But let me again restate the obvious: the University will not accept Mr. Huggins’ attempted revocation of his resignation, not will it reinstate him as head coach of the men’s basketball program,” wrote Stephanie Taylor, WVU vice president and general counsel.
Campbell on Saturday asserted that Huggins himself “has never communicated his resignation to you, the Athletic Director, or anyone at WVU.”
The university on Monday devoted more than 1 1/2 pages addressed to Campbell, detailing the myriad ways in which Huggins — or his other lawyers — communicated his resignation or, at least, never disputed that he had in fact resigned.
“I am still confused by your allegations,” Taylor wrote Monday. “Are you asserting that Mr. Huggins never resigned? Is it your position that Mr. Gianola, the longstanding lawyer for Mr. Huggins, engaged with the University on June 17 without the knowledge or authorization of Mr. Huggins? And then Mr. Huggins’ wife submitted his resignation without his knowledge or authorization?
“Finally, that Mr. Huggins did nothing to rectify this situation for almost three weeks? Or, are you asserting that Mr. Huggins did resign, but his notification did not meet the technical requirements under the Employee Agreement?”
Further muddying the waters is that Campbell is fighting one front for Huggins while two other attorneys of his, Bob Fitzsimmons and James “Rocky” Gianola, were busy hammering out an agreement with WVU for retirement benefits. That action was happening as recently as Friday, per the school.
Huggins apparently resigned on June 17, one night after his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence in Pittsburgh. Huggins registered a .210 blood-alcohol content following a breathalyzer test — more than two times the legal limit in Pennsylvania.
WVU named Eilert interim head coach for the entire 2023-24 season a week later.
As for his part, Huggins apologized for the arrest Monday and said he “voluntarily checked into a world-class rehabilitation center.”
“I intend to remain in the center until I am cleared to return to my active coaching duties,” he said.
Huggins appeared in a Pittsburgh courtroom last Monday and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. A formal arraignment was scheduled for Aug. 17.
–Field Level Media