Huggins will return to Cincinnati with K-State

Updated: May 3, 2006, 8:07 PM ET
Associated Press

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Bob Huggins will be back in Cincinnati.

Kansas State, Huggins' new school, announced Wednesday that the Wildcats signed a three-year contract with Xavier.

The teams will play the next two seasons at U.S. Arena in Cincinnati, the city where Huggins was so popular in his 16 seasons coaching the Bearcats. The first game is set for Jan. 3, 2007. The third game in the series will be at Kansas State's Bramlage Coliseum.

"Cincinnati has been great to me," said Huggins, who had been out of work for a year after Cincinnati president Nancy Zimpher refused to extend his four-year contract rollover following his arrest for drunken driving."We are very excited to play a top-notch program as Xavier. I would like to thank Xavier and U.S. Bank Arena for giving me the opportunity to return to Cincinnati. The fans there have always supported me, and it will be my honor to coach in front of them once again."

Huggins is 567-199 in 24 seasons as a head coach at Walsh, Akron and Cincinnati. At Cincinnati, he was 399-127 and led the Bearcats to 14 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 1992 Final Four.

In March, he replaced Jim Wooldridge, who was 15-13 last season at Kansas State, which has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1996.

A series between Kansas State and Xavier had been rumored for weeks, particularly as Huggins continues to pursue Cincinnati prep standouts O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker, the two top-ranked players in the class of 2007.

Huggins continued to recruit the duo, who play for North College Hill High School, while he was out of coaching and not subject to NCAA rules regarding contact. Both have expressed interest in playing for Kansas State.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press