Keep Bob Huggins  

rm_KanineT9 66M
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10/6/2005 1:20 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Keep Bob Huggins


This is a letter I wrote to President Nancy Zimpher of the University of Cincinnati regarding the dismissal of basketball coach Bob Huggins

Dear President Zimpher,
I have lived in Cincinnati for most of my life. I attended my first X-UC game in the late 1950’s at Cincinnati Gardens and witnessed first hand the performance of the incomparable Oscar Robertson and his teammates. Although the Bearcat teams with Oscar never won a national championship, the stage was set for the University of Cincinnati to win consecutive NCAA championships in 1961 and 1962. Innovative thinking of athletic officials at the university during that time brought Robertson to Cincinnati and the credibility Oscar Robertson himself brought to the program made this remarkable and unprecedented achievement possible. Because Oscar came to the Bearcats, the University successfully recruited Paul Hogue, George Wilson, Tom Thacker, Tony Yates, and Ron Bonham to form the starting lineup of the eventual champions. The city of Cincinnati and the University benefited from shortsighted racist attitudes prevalent in that time that turned away Oscar Robertson and other black athletes. This is the cornerstone of the men’s basketball program at the University of Cincinnati. We are proud of this tradition. The success the Bearcats and our city enjoyed during those years stand in marked contrast to recent events. Our once proud city is now an embarrassing monument to ineffective leadership, racial strife, conflict, and crime.
When Bob Huggins came to the University of Cincinnati 16 years ago, the men’s basketball program was less than a shadow of the championship years. Huggins, a tireless and ambitious worker began to organize his affairs and relentlessly build the program to the top-flight level we enjoy currently. More importantly, Coach Huggins has built the Bearcat family and turned tough, inner city kids into dedicated, focused professionals that work as hard as the coach does. These young men owe Bob Huggins a great deal. They know this, and regularly return to Cincinnati to assist current players and coaches. The list of men who have benefited from their association with Coach Huggins and his staff is, to say the least, impressive. Many of these individuals have worked through severe disadvantages to achieve remarkable success. These facts most certainly contribute positively to the Bearcat tradition of excellence.
One year ago, Huggins made a terrible mistake, acknowledged it, and paid the penalty without hesitation. Too soon after this, an assistant made the same mistake and recently a player did an incredibly stupid thing. Unfortunately, this former player will never benefit from Bob Huggins’ influence as many others have. Young men, kids, make mistakes. It is better to provide positive influence and build a better man than to turn away from the problem. Eventually, a bad situation allowed to fester will worsen. Someday, somewhere, someone will be forced to clean up the mess, fix the problem, or be hurt.
Coach Huggins is a benefit to our community and the University of Cincinnati. His achievements on the basketball court are noteworthy, but merely underscore the good work and example he provides the young men who play on his teams and those that support the Bearcats. I urge you to look more deeply into the situation and consider the positive aspects of Bob Huggins’ program. Huggins is not the raving maniac who stalks the sidelines during the game or the person portrayed by the media as surly or insensitive. Huggins is a builder. Coach Huggins should stay at the University of Cincinnati because he is an excellent basketball coach and a great teacher for those fortunate enough to be on the team.
Best Regards,

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