Charlie Huggins, father of WVU coach Bob Huggins, dies at 87

The father of West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins has died. Charlie Huggins, who led high school basketball teams to three Ohio state championships, was 87.

James Gardner of Baxter-Gardner Funeral Home in Sherrodsville, Ohio, said Charlie Huggins died Tuesday. Gardner, the funeral home’s owner and director, said no official cause of death has been released.

Charlie Huggins won Ohio small-school titles as a coach in 1967, 1972 and 1976. He compiled a 398-74 career record in 20 seasons, including a 26-0 mark during Bob Huggins’ senior season at Indian Valley South High School in Gnadenhutten, Ohio, in 1972.

Charlie Huggins was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.

Bob Huggins initially didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps upon graduating from West Virginia. His playing days ended after he was cut by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1977. West Virginia coach Joedy Gardner offered him a graduate assistant position, enabling him to finish his master’s degree in health administration.

At one time or another the younger Huggins mulled becoming a doctor or an attorney. But basketball stuck. He spent two years as an assistant under Eldon Miller at Ohio State, then became a head coach at age 27 at Walsh College in 1980.

“I think, to a large degree, my dad said ‘you don’t want to do that,’” Bob Huggins said in December 2016 shortly before earning his 800th career coaching win. “I never have listened much to my dad, obviously.”

Charlie Huggins added that he tried to explain to his son that coaching “would be a lot of work and not much money.”

Most of Bob Huggins’ wins came during 16 seasons at Cincinnati before being fired in 2005 in a power struggle with the school’s president. He spent one season at Kansas State and took his dream job at West Virginia in 2007. He earned his 900th win last month in the NCAA Tournament.

Born Sept. 1, 1933, in Morgantown, West Virginia, Charlie Huggins graduated from Alderson-Broaddus College in West Virginia in 1952 and earned a master’s degree at WVU in 1962. For 20 years he taught an adult Sunday school, and five decades ago founded a Christian-based basketball camp now run by his son, Larry.

Charlie Huggins’ wife, Norma, died of colon cancer in 2003. Bob Huggins created an endowment fund at the WVU Cancer Institute in honor of his late mother.

Besides Bob and Larry Huggins, Charlie Huggins also is survived by five other children and several grandchildren.

Arrangements are pending.

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