For Huggins, The Sweatsuit Makes The Man

Bob Huggins has guided alma mater West Virginia to its first Final Four appearance in more than 50 years, so naturally he's going to be the focus this week of any number of soft focus profiles attempting to mine interesting anecdotes from the famed coach. ↵

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↵One easy and conspicuous subject to touch on: his courtside attire, which is considerably more casual than what you'd see from the typical college hoops coach. His usual game day get-up includes a black zip-up windbreaker, black slacks and loafers, which, of course, are black too. The habit has persisted for nearly every game during his three-year tenure at West Virginia, but its origin dates back to his time at Cincinnati, where the transition occurred over the course of his 16 seasons with the school. ↵

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↵⇥Huggins said he originally wore a suit and tie at Cincinnati, but received the blessing of then athletic director Bob Goin for the more casual look he wears now. ↵⇥

↵⇥"Actually, I started wearing the one [warm-up suit] I wore at Cincinnati because I had a suit on and I'd sweat through the suit," Huggins said. "I was soaking wet and I took the suit off and put it [the warm-up suit] on for the second half and my athletic director [Goin] said, 'I don' t know who ever told coaches to wear suits. You look great like that.'" ↵⇥

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↵⇥"So I wore that at Cincinnati until we got a new president [Nancy Zimpher], who didn't think I was supposed to wear that." ↵⇥

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↵The West Virginia athletic director joked that the last time Huggins wore a suit and tie was probably when the university hired him. Huggins donned a solid gold suit for the Mountaineers in Janurary 2008 game facing his former employer, Cincinnati. The gilded look didn't presage great things for his team, as they shot 20 percent from the field and lost in a washout 62-39. Suffice it to say, that particular suit was definitely gone, and the formal look hasn't figured prominently in Huggins wardrobe. ↵

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↵Sartorial standards vary by sport, with basketball coaches favoring the dapper look more so than their counterparts in football or baseball. But as Huggy Bear has shown, even stringent style considerations go out the window once you show you can get it done. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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