“ All I just told them in there was I don’t know that they have any
idea how much they mean to this state, and how much this state
rallies around them. I told them this, ‘You have very few times in
your life to be special. Very, very few. A lot of people never have
a chance to be special.’ This group, maybe could have, should have,
whatever. If we close a couple games out, we’re probably top five in
the country. Very few people have that opportunity to be special --
particularly at a place like West Virginia, where they’ve had great
basketball, but they’re not the Steelers. Cincinnati had great
basketball when I was there, but they’re not the Reds.”
"Mountaineer basketball and football are West Virginia’s pride. I
told them we -- not them, we -- had a chance to be special, and
bring this state so much pride and joy. Jay has said this
conceivably could be the best team since the Final Four team, and
what that means to this state."
I had the best team in the country. It wasn’t even close. We had the
best player in the country. I told them, he came in my office in the
spring and said, ‘Huggs, what should I do?’ I said, ‘I don’t know,
man. Let me find out.’ I found out he was going to go between 18 and
21 in the draft. I call him in and ask him, ‘Before I get into this
deal, what do you want to do?’ He looked at me and said, ‘I want to
win the national championship.’ He said, ‘Coach, we talk about being
special here. I want to win a national championship.’ He got a tear,
coming down his face. I said, ‘I think you answered your own
question.’ I told them, when he broke his leg, and I’m out on the
floor hugging him and he’s crying on my shoulder, he never said one
word about, ‘Oh, there goes my pro career. Look at the money I might
have lost.’ You know what he said? ‘Man, I’m not going to be able to
win the national championship. Why? Why Huggs? Why did this happen
to me? I just wanted to win the national championship and be
special.’ He’s crying on my shoulder, and there’s a guy that’s the
No. 1 pick in the draft, and maybe could have been done.
Single-mindedness, focus, and purpose. That’s what he wanted to do."
"I told them in there, ‘Man, you guys have no idea.' When you get
older, you think, ‘I wish I would have listened.’ We all do. But
this might not happen again. I’m going to be honest and I’m going to
vent a bit maybe here -- there’s 600 students at the Seton Hall
game. They may never have another top 10 team. It might not ever
happen again. Everybody assumes. When I was at Cincinnati, everybody
assumed we were just going to be what we were year after year after
year. It’s hard. It’s hard. These guys being part of this --
everybody thinks how bad they want to go to the NBA. That ain’t fun.
Everybody in the NBA will tell you the greatest experience they had
was playing in college. Everybody. It’s fun. I told them, ‘I’m
usually pretty irate when we lose, because I detest losing. I mean,
I detest it. But I’m hurt.' I’m hurt, because I know what this means
to the people in our state -- being able to pump their chest out and
say, ‘That’s my team.’"
"It’s not over with. We certainly can’t let it be over with. But,
you know, we’re playing triangle-and-two, and we get back-cut twice
for lay-ups. There’s supposed to be a guy standing on the block.
Standing there. How do you get back-cut for a lay-up? How is there
not somebody standing there to catch the guy coming to the basket?
Those kind of things, to me, are inexcusable and incredibly
frustrating. Because I think I do understand. I came back here for a
reason. I came back for no other reason than I love this University,
I love this state and I love the people here. If we can do something
special for them, that’s what I want to do. And we’re going to.
We’re going to. But it takes a piece of you."