Whooo hooo, looks like our basketball team is going to receive some help on its journey to a successful program! Big East beware! http://cbs.sportsline.com/u/ce/multi...961_55,00.html Huggins leaving Cincy to coach alma mater, West Virginia March 22, 2002 By Dan Wetzel SportsLine.com Senior Writer Tell Dan your opinion! Bob Huggins has decided he will accept a lucrative, incentive-filled contract from West Virginia, according to a source close to the coach. "He said, 'I'm taking it. We are going to get this thing going at West Virginia,'" said the source, who spoke with Huggins early Friday morning. "He's excited about it." Huggins was not available for comment. The Cincinnati coach might hold off on an official announcement until Monday, in the interest of speaking with his current players, many of whom are away from campus on spring break. However, he has begun to tell a small group of friends that his mind is made up and he will return to coach his alma mater next season. West Virginia made Huggins its primary candidate immediately after long-time coach Gale Catlett announced his retirement on Feb. 14. Huggins met with school officials Tuesday and Wednesday in Pittsburgh, where he was officially offered the job. The West Virginia contract includes a slight raise in base salary ($150,000 at UC, according to UC spokesman Tom Hathaway) but could prove considerably more lucrative due to incentives that would reward Huggins for trips to the NCAA Tournament, success in the Big East conference and attendance increases. He will also have use of a private plane to make recruiting trips and his team will charter planes to all road games. West Virginia will also increase its budgets for staff. Huggins will receive some percentage of gate receipts if home attendance rises. The Mountaineers averaged just 6,481 fans at 14,000-seat West Virginia Coliseum last season. Huggins believes he can average more than 8,000 fans his first season and regularly pack the facility once the program hits stride. Bob Huggins will be working courts in the Big East next season.(Allsport) The highest average attendance ever at the facility was 11,384 in 1982. It's the overall commitment Huggins sought from the Big East school in order to field a national championship contending program. They are the kind of perks that many elite coaches have at their disposal, including Conference USA rivals Rick Pitino (Louisville), John Calipari (Memphis) and Tom Crean (Marquette). Despite leading the Bearcats to seven consecutive league titles and seven seasons in a row with 25 or more victories, Cincinnati has not made that level of commitment. Huggins and UC athletic director Bob Goin met late Thursday afternoon but UC wasn't willing to match the West Virginia offer. "He said they weren't going to do what it took," said the source. However Hathaway said Friday that Goin was never presented with details of an offer to match. "The University is prepared to match but we haven't seen anything," Hathaway said. In addition to his base salary at UC, Huggins also receives a $75,000 annual bonus, $140,000 from radio and TV shows, bonuses for getting his team into the NCAA Tournament, a country club membership and use of a car. Hathaway said Huggins' total package at UC, including Nike money, is about $1.3 million annually. The decision will not come as a shock to Goin. The UC athletic director began making preliminary phone calls to potential replacements for Huggins last week. Expect former Chicago Bull coach Tim Floyd to emerge as the school's No. 1 candidate. Western Kentucky coach Dennis Felton, Kent State coach Stan Heath and Houston coach Ray McCallum might also be considered. The move also represents a long desired return home for Huggins, who was born in Morgantown and was a two-time academic All-American at the school. A 1977 graduate, he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at West Virginia. He owns a hunting and fishing cabin just an hour from Morgantown and has long discussed a desire to return to his alma mater and deliver a winner. In 22 seasons as a head coach, including 13 at UC, Huggins has compiled 500 career victories. He led UC to the 1992 Final Four. The Bearcats finished this season 31-4 and earned the program's first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament under Huggins. UC lost Sunday to UCLA 105-101 in double overtime. The Mountaineers finished the season 8-20 and just 1-15 in league play.