KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been more than five years since Bob Huggins donned a Kansas State purple sweater.
But the memories of his one-year stint with the school are still fresh on his mind.
Even though Frank Martin has moved on to South Carolina, and the administration that hired him is no longer around, Huggins said K-State will always be the same school.
“I’ve got great memories at K-State,” he said. “The people were absolutely fantastic. It’s a different administration, it’s a different everything. But it’s still the same people. They were absolutely wonderful to myself and my family.”
Huggins said some other things have changed in Manhattan. His favorite place to eat, Doe’s, is no longer open. And the Wildcats don’t play in the Big 12 North anymore, it’s just one conference.
Huggins joked that one thing he missed out on in his stint at K-State, is the chance to visit all the Big 12 South schools.
“Since I was in the Big 12 when there was a north and south division, and we played everybody in the south once, and everybody in the north twice, there were places I didn’t get to go,” he said. “I didn’t get to go to Lubbock. I almost wanted to stay just so I could go to Lubbock the next year.”
Huggins said on Wednesday that the Big 12 might have the best home court advantage in the country, and he already knows the challenge ahead of them when they travel to places like Kansas.
The West Virginia coach talked about his memories of the last time he went head-to-head with Bill Self.
“I don’t know who has a bigger home court advantage than KU has,” he said. “We went in there and lost by I think it was 106, my year at Kansas State. My 7’2” center fouled out in seven minutes. It’s hard. It’s a hard deal. Bill does a great job.”
Huggins said he also knows playing in Manhattan will be a challenge with his first-hand knowledge of the environment at Bramlage Coliseum.
“I think that’s a really, really hard place to play,” he said. “When they start playing Wabash Cannonball, and start doing whatever it is they do, I never could figure it out. It’s a great, great atmosphere.”
Huggins said his wife still talks often about Manhattan, and talks with the friends they met there.
He even said he’s sure his wife would go back if she could. But would he?
“I’m not leaving Morgantown, this is it for me,” he said. “I’m moved out, I’m done, done moving.”