The Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Fund will probably never be the primary facet of Bob Huggins' legacy, but it should be a larger part of it.
The West Virginia coach has hosted three roasts in the past year -- all at his expense -- in an effort to raise money for the cancer-fighting operation in his mother's name. Norma Mae Huggins died in 2003 from colon cancer. In the past nine months, the coach and the people of West Virginia have helped raise nearly $500,000 to fund research toward fighting the disease.
So kudos are in order to the state of West Virginia for being able to step in stride with the money-raising efforts. Can you imagine if even only 10 more coaches did this sort of thing, and got state-funded help to match?
"The great thing is that when we do these things, most of the money is matched by the state (through the West Virginia Research Trust Fund, a $35 million Legislature-approved funding vehicle available through 2015 to WVU)," Huggins said. "We know we have a long way to go.
"We need to have enough money to be able to really do something. I've been involved with a lot of charities in my coaching career, but this is a special deal, and not just because of my mom.
According to the Charleston Daily Mail, before Huggins came on board last year to help the money raising efforts, the fund was floating in the $35,000 range. What a difference a coach can make. It's not just speaking engagements and these dinners/roasts that have helped the cause. The website huggiebearproducts.com sells a slew of WVU-related items, the proceeds of which go toward the fund.
More roasts and dinners are planned for the future, as Huggins said he's not likely to slow down until the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Fund quadruples its current number, meaning $2 million is the minimum benchmark for Huggins and his team.