CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Bob Huggins is headed to the Hall ... and I don't mean Seton Hall.
Which Hall? Or maybe the better question might be, how many?
Let's put it this way ... if not Springfield, Mass., the birthplace of the game, then Huggins is certainly goin' to Kansas City, home of the recently minted Hall of Fame at the College Basketball Experience.
With Huggins' 676th career victory - Tuesday night over Robert Morris - the West Virginia coach will move into 20th place on the all-time major college coaching wins list. He passed his former and longtime Louisville rival, Denny Crum (who was only 5-11 against Huggins).
Huggins passed the late UCLA legend, John Wooden (664 wins) during the Mountaineers' Big East tournament title run last March. Crum is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as is Wooden ... as are 13 of the 19 coaches ahead of Huggins on that
all-time winners list led by Bob Knight, at 902.
Huggins is 57, and has plenty of time to climb the victory ladder at WVU, barring health issues, like the heart attack he suffered in September 2002. It will be next season before he moves up another rung or two. Next are Don "the Bear" Haskins, of Texas Western NCAA title fame, at 719, and DePaul's late, great Ray Meyer at 724.
Huggins has two Final Fours to his credit, and there are some in the Naismith Hall ahead of the WVU coach on the wins list that can't say that ... Temple's John Chaney, for example, never reached an NCAA semifinal, excruciatingly losing in five regional finals.
Huggins has - besides eight years left after this one on his WVU contract - 24 seasons of at least 20 wins and 14 of 25 or more. He's averaged 24 per year, and he's played quality schedules and developed 20 or so NBA players along the way, too.
Among active men's coaches, Huggins ranks fourth in victories - trailing Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhoun - all Hall of Famers, the only active coaches who have made it to the Springfield shrine on the banks of the Connecticut River.
Among those ahead of Huggins in wins who aren't in the Hall - Jim Phelan, Eddie Sutton, Lou Henson, Jerry Tarkanian, Norm Stewart - some have had, shall we say, "issues" to taint their legacies.
Huggins has endured some of those negatives, be it Cincinnati's well-publicized low graduation rates, player arrests, his own DUI and subsequent arm-twisted resignation from the Bearcats.
Huggins is one of college basketball's best coaches. His numbers prove it. But is he a Hall of Famer? I went to some fellow scribes - longtime, respected hoops writers - for their opinions, too.
"The best thing one can say about Bob Huggins is that the coaches know; they know how extraordinary he is," e-mailed Mike DeCourcy, the veteran and knowledgeable college basketball columnist for The Sporting News. "If there were a Coaches Hall of Fame run by coaches for coaches, he'd be a first-ballot choice.