CONGRATULATIONS, Kansas State University! You've just purchased Famous College Coaches Model NX9873, Bob Huggins.
WAIVER: Before you open your used Bob Huggins, please read the directions CAREFULLY. We cannot be responsible for damage to your integrity, reputation or standing in the community.
GUARANTEE: Your used Bob Huggins is guaranteed to win games, not graduate players. He operates best at a zero graduation rate. In fact, in four of nine reporting years at Cincinnati his graduation rate was 0.0—meaning Huggins graduated as many people as the local cemetery. He insists his rates were low because he relied on junior college transfers, who don't count in the stats when they graduate, and because many of his players turned pro. Still, in 16 years at Cincinnati, Huggins graduated only 28% of the players who arrived as freshmen. You could do better than that teaching calculus by smoke signal.
SETTINGS: Do not adjust the volume on your used Bob Huggins. He has only one setting. During games he screams at his players, and they scream back at him. It's like dinner at Ozzy Osbourne's house. Your fans will love it. They will be able to hear much of his halftime speech without leaving their seats.
CARE AND CLEANING: Do not attempt to clean your used Bob Huggins with abrasive cleansers or industrial products. In fact, don't try to clean your used Bob Huggins at all. The stain will not wash off. He's about as black a hat as you can find in college basketball. He even wears black. His temper is factory-set to "quick" and his ethics to "slick," and he'll sign a cottonmouth if he thinks he can rebound.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Hire extra cashiers. Your used Bob Huggins will win many games and win them quicker than you can tote them up. He's the best defensive coach in the land. K-State won six Big 12 games last year? Hah! Huggins will pass that by Groundhog Day. You'll sell out of seats, jerseys and nachos. Alumni donations will double. You'll be on Dick Vitale's speed-dial. With Dick's lung capacity, that's not always a good thing.
LIMITED WARRANTY: No wins guaranteed after March 15. Only one of Huggins's last nine Cincinnati teams made it past the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. You said you wanted to go to the dance. You didn't say you wanted to stay.
NOTE TO USERS: Do not store your used Bob Huggins near any flammable material, such as the NCAA rule book. In '98 his Bearcats program got two years probation and lost three scholarships for "lack of institutional control." Also, keep your university's ethics professors away from him. We all know what you did here. You sold your soul for wins. It's like marrying Anna Nicole Smith. She ain't moving in to cook.
TROUBLESHOOTING: Your used Bob Huggins already made you look a little sleazy before you hired him. After getting canned by Cincinnati in August 2005, he had all of last season to basically recruit star players, even though he didn't know what school he was recruiting them for. You're going to love it there, as soon as I figure out where "there" is. Right after Hugs signed with Kansas State, he got a verbal commitment from star forward Michael Beasley, one of the top high school players in the class of '07. (Probably didn't hurt that Huggy Bear hired Beasley's old AAU coach as one of his assistants.)
HELPFUL TIP: Have plenty of good lawyers around. Your used Bob Huggins often recruits the kind of player reserved for Scared Straight! documentaries. In his time at Cincinnati, 19 of his players or recruits were charged with crimes ranging from shoplifting to assault. One player punched a horse. Huggins's Thug-o-meter broke years ago. If you hold a reunion of ex-Huggins players now in the NBA, it will draw such moral beacons as San Antonio's Nick (the Gangsta Hooper) Van Exel, who once attacked a ref; Denver's Kenyon Martin, who was suspended for insubordination during last season's playoffs; and Milwaukee's Ruben Patterson, a registered sex offender.
SAFETY WARNING: Use caution when allowing your used Bob Huggins to take the wheel of your program. In fact, use caution when allowing him to take the wheel of anything. He's already had one DUI conviction.
REPLACEMENT PARTS: These are not covered by the manufacturer on your used Bob Huggins. The man is so intense he had a heart attack four years ago, at 49, and was back at work within two weeks. (Defibrillator sold separately.)
EMERGENCY SHUT-OFF: After a few seasons you will want to get rid of your used Bob Huggins the way Quasimodo wanted to get rid of his hump. This will not be cheap. It cost Cincinnati president Nancy Zimpher $3 million to fire him. Why'd she do it? Because, she said, "character counts."
Not at Kansas State. Accountants do.
If you have a comment for Rick Reilly, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do not store your used Bob Huggins near flammable material, such as the NCAA rule book. Also, keep your school's ethics professors away from him.
RIFFS of REILLY
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