Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Men's College Basketball [Print without images]

Friday, May 2, 2008
Huggins signs extension to keep him at West Virginia until age 65

Associated Press

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins signed an 11-year contract with the school Friday that will keep him at his alma mater until he's 65.

The deal will pay Huggins $1.5 million a year, plus incentives. When he arrived in April 2007, he was paid $800,000 in his first season.

"It's a great day for myself and for my family. To be able to represent this great state is an honor," Huggins said. "It's great to be able to work in a place where you enjoy the people that you work with and you trust the people that you work with."

Athletic director Ed Pastilong said the contract keeps Huggins at West Virginia "for the remainder of his coaching career" and it's possible the contract could go beyond age 65.

"This is a good marriage," Pastilong said.

The contract, which Pastilong said would be made public Monday, includes a $4 million buyout, the same amount the university is seeking to recover from former football coach Rich Rodriguez, who quit in December for a job at Michigan.

Rodriguez, who is fighting his buyout, has said WVU President Mike Garrison promised to reduce or eliminate the buyout clause -- a claim Garrison has denied.

When asked whether he had received any promise or assertion from the administration that was not written into his own contract, Huggins responded, "Not that I know of."

"Me either," added Garrison.

When Huggins arrived at West Virginia, he agreed to a five-year deal outlined in an offer sheet. Recently, he signed a contract with WVU that was similar to the original agreement. Administrators then suggested the university make it a long-term deal.

When asked why it took a year to sign a contract, Huggins said, "When you get older, things don't seem to be as urgent as what they used to be."

The Mountaineers went 26-11 this season and advanced to the NCAA tournament's third round for the third time in four years.

"I'm excited that we're able to go full steam into the future," Huggins said. "We want to win a national championship. We want to go to the Final Four."

Huggins played at WVU from 1975 to 1977, leading the Mountaineers in assists his senior year.

At Friday's hastily arranged announcement Huggins shook hands and embraced Garrison, whose administration has been tarnished by a master's degree scandal involving Gov. Joe Manchin's daughter -- Garrison's longtime friend.

The 114-member WVU Faculty Senate is expected to consider a vote of no-confidence on Garrison on Monday, but the president has said he won't resign.

"Mike and I are going to be here a long time," Huggins said.