MORGANTOWN — Bob Huggins is moving toward the Basketball Hall of Fame with baby steps and he took one on Monday as he was announced as part of the inaugural class to the Conference USA Hall of Fame.
Huggins joins the 25-person class that honors coaches, administrators and student-athletes from all sports within the conference for his coaching career with Cincinnati, where the Bearcats competed in Conference USA in nine of Huggins’ 16 seasons at the school. Huggins coached in Conference USA while at Cincinnati from 1995 to 2004 and was named Coach of the Year three consecutive years — 1997-98, 1998-1999 and 1999-2000
In 1997-98, the current WVU coach, who has been twice nominated for the Basketball Hall of Fame, was named the National Coach of the Year and won the Conference USA’s Men’s Basketball Coach of the Decade honor from 1995 to 2004.
In 10 years in C-USA, Huggins, who was joined in the inaugural C-USA Hall of Fame class by his best player from his time at Cincinnati in Kenyon Martin, won a share of eight regular season titles, five of them outright and four post-season in 1996, 1998, 2002 and 2004.
Each year he coached in C-USA, he made the NCAA Championships, reaching the Elite Eight in 1996. He compiled a conference record of 123-33 while putting together an overall mark of 259-70.
Fifteen times his teams were ranked No. 1 and were in the Top 25 for 138 of the 184 weekly polls, earning Top 10 status 10 times.
Under Huggins, Martin earned Consensus National Player of the Year honors in 2000 while also being named C-USA’s Player of the Year that same season. He is the conference’s only three-time Defensive Player of the Year and was the leader of the 1999-2000 team that was ranked No. 1 for most of the season.
Huggins always maintained he would have won the National Championship that year had Martin not broken his leg in the conference playoff quarterfinal against Saint Louis. Martin went on to become C-USA’s only No. 1 NBA draft selection and played 14 years in the league.
Martin was named the C-USA Male Athlete of the Decade of 1995-2004.
The others honored from the inaugural C-USA Hall of Fame class were:
—Courtney Blades, Southern Miss, Softball (1999-2000)
—Arnau Brugues, Tulsa, Men’s Tennis (2006-09)
—Torie Bowie, Southern Miss, Track & Field (2009-12)
—Jon Busch, Charlotte, Men’s Soccer (1994-96)
—Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis, Men’s Basketball (2005-08)
—Jarett Dillard, Rice, Football (2005-08)
—Jake Gautreau, Tulane, Baseball (1998-2001)
—Tyler Henderson, Tulsa, Volleyball (2009-12)
—Deanna Jackson, UAB, Women’s Basketball (1998-02)
—Chandi Jones, Houston, Women’s Basketball (2000-04)
—Case Keenum, Houston, Football (2007-11)
—Michael Kogan, Tulane, Men’s Tennis
—Graeme McDowell, UAB, Men’s Golf (1999-2002)
—Yulia Pakhalina, Houston, Swimming & Diving (2001-03)
—Anthony Rendon, Rice, Baseball (2008-11)
—Brooke Tull, TCU, Women’s Golf (2002-04)
—Dwyane Wade, Marquette, Men’s Basketball (2001-03)
—DeAngelo Williams, Memphis, Football (2002-05)
—Kevin Youkilis, Cincinnati, Baseball (1998-2001)
—Jeff Bower, Southern Miss, Football (1995-2007)
—Wayne Graham, Rice, Baseball (2006-2018)
—Gene Bartow, UAB Men’s Basketball Coach/Athletics Director
—Mike Slive, C-USA Commissioner (1995-2002)