For the Times West Virginian
As a basketball coach, Bob Huggins doesn’t believe much in charity. Nothing bothers him more than when his team gives the ball away to an opponent, but off the court Huggins has become amazingly charitable and because of it he has been honored by the WVU Foundation as one of the recipients of its 2012 Outstanding Philanthropy awards.
Huggins has been selected by his alma mater and the school that employs him as the Outstanding Volunteer Philanthropist of 2012.
Also being cited for their generosity are Stuart M. and Joyce N. Robbins as the Milan Puskar Outstanding Philanthropists; Jeanne G. and Lawson W. Hamilton Jr. Family Foundation as the Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation and Siemens PLM Software as the Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation.
“We salute our honorees for their willingness to give to our university in so many ways from financial and in-kind support, to time, effort and expertise,” said Wayne King, president and CEO of the WVU Foundation in a release issued Tuesday. “WVU is a better place as a result of their caring and commitment.”
Huggins has used his status and fame to raise awareness and funds for causes off the court and close to his heart.
Foremost among these causes has been the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment, established in memory of the coach’s mother who died of cancer. Through various fundraising efforts, he has mobilized an incredible number of donors around the state and nation in support of cancer research at WVU’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. The endowment has quickly grown to more than $600,000 with no indication of slowing down.
Huggins first showed his charitable side at the Upper Big Branch mine disaster in which 29 coal miners were killed. The West Virginia basketball coach flew into Montcoal by helicopter and visited with the miners’ families and brought food for them to eat.
Huggins is a two-time Academic All-American, and graduated from the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, magna cum laude, in 1977. He received his master’s degree in health administration from WVU in 1978. Huggins was a three-year letterman for the Mountaineers from 1975-77. He is also a member of the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences Hall of Fame.