W.Va. basketball coach visits miners’ families

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.