West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins visits families after mine blast

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

W.Va. basketball coach visits miners’ families

MONTCOAL, W.Va. — West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins delivered homemade pasta and Mountaineer T-shirts on Wednesday to the families of miners who have been killed or are missing following an explosion.

Huggins, who is affectionately known as “Huggy Bear,” arrived by helicopter and met with the families for over an hour.

Huggins phoned Gov. Joe Manchin to ask how he could help, said Sara Payne Scarbro, a spokeswoman for the governor. The coach enlisted friends who made pasta, which he then delivered along with other food and water to the families who have gathered to await word on their loved ones, Payne Scarbro said.

“He said to me, ‘Boy, these families are really strong,’” she said. “I could see the families were touched. They were very appreciative.”

Monday’s blast at Upper Big Branch Mine killed at least 25 miners. Another two were in the hospital with injuries, and rescue crews were working to try to reach four missing miners.

Huggins also relayed prayers from his players, Payne Scarbro said.

Huggins is among the state’s most recognizable and perhaps popular residents. He led the Mountaineers to their first Final Four since 1959. They lost 78-57 Saturday to eventual champion Duke.

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