RAY SWANSON | Keystoner Troubles undo Bearcats' coach
How would you like to have had the two options that confronted Cincinnati University head basketball coach Bob Huggins?
The options, in no uncertain terms, were to resign or be fired. Talk about being blunt. The university's president, Nancy Zimpher, wanted him out, and she got her wish.
After 16 seasons as head coach of the Bearcats, Huggins resigned Wednesday, but he didn't leave empty-handed. He agreed to a $3 million buyout for the rest of his contract. Not exactly peanuts.
Taking over is Andy Kennedy, Huggins' top assistant and recruiting coordinator for the past four years.
Too many problems
What it all boiled down to apparently for Zimpher were the problems that surfaced the past several years in the basketball program under Huggins. The Bearcat coach was arrested last year for drunken driving.
Zimpher also cited poor recruiting tactics, saying Huggins brought in players with poor grades and a penchant for trouble. She also wanted the coaches to be better role models.
Cincinnati not only has been marked with player arrests but it also violated NCAA rules, which landed the school on probation. The Bearcats had one of the lowest graduation rates in the nation.
Meeting the coach
It's been a few years back since I first met Huggins, then a head coach at the University of Akron. Huggins had the Zips program under control then, and one of his stalwarts was Sean Roberts, the former Farrell High School standout. I was then a sportswriter for The Vindicator and was covering the Youngstown State University Penguins.
Huggins, in his post-game interviews, seemed to be a knowledgeable and gracious man who believed very strongly in his convictions as well as in his players. Now, at age 51, Huggins is said to be having problems recruiting the right kind of players, among other shortcomings.
Under Huggins, the Bearcats made the Final Four and were ranked No. 1 nationally for the first time in 34 years.
With Huggins departing, the Bearcats have their work cut out this season because the team will be entering its first year in the Big East.
As far as Huggins' joining forces with another school, only time will tell. Coaching is in his blood.
Christmas comes early for senior citizens in Hermitage. Barb Dzuricsko, athletic director at Hickory High School in Hermitage, announced that a new lifetime sports pass is available for Hermitage senior citizens. Anyone age 60 or older who resides in Hermitage is available for a Lifetime Sports Pass that will get fans in free to all regular season sports at Hickory High School.
Give Barb a call at (724) 981-8750 ext. 1400. Tickets can be picked up at the high school.
Westminster College head football coach Jeff Hand has announced the hiring of six assistant football coaches (two full-time, two part-time, two interns) for the Titan football program.
They are full-timers Dwayne Pavkovich and Clark Rolli, and part-timers Bill Hand (younger brother of the head coach) and Gary Schooley, and interns Sean Ross and Paul D'Imperio.
Jeff Hand is in his first season at the helm of the Titans. The lone returnee from the 2004 Titan coaching staff is Don Augustine, coaching the running backs and special teams.