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Mitch Vingle: Bob Huggins, Jevon Carter and a state connection

AP photo
West Virginia University men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins.

Ye olde notebook:

If you missed the news, WVU basketball coach Bob Huggins was part of a record-breaking charity event on May 12 at The Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Florida.

Huggins was an honoree at the sold-out Dick Vitale Gala that raised $3.12 million for pediatric cancer research through the Jimmy V Foundation. In 12 years of the event, $21.3 million has been raised — and that’s after expenses.

“It was an extravaganza,” Huggins said. “I’ve been four or five times so I knew what to expect. Long. It’s a long deal. But I don’t know anyone else who can raise $3 million in a night.”

Huggins, of course, was honored not only for his success coaching, but because of his efforts with the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Fund named after his mother. She passed away in 2003 from colon cancer.

“When you lose a parent or someone close to you, you kind of go ‘why?’ ” Huggins said Tuesday. “But, I don’t know, I guess by doing this I hope she didn’t pass away in vain. By doing this, good things are still going on in her name.”

None of the money raised at the Vitale Gala went to the Huggins Fund, but the coach said visibility of the charity was raised.

“I think in a lot of ways we’re picking up momentum [with the fund],” he said. “If we can get to $2 million here, maybe we’ll get to the point where it can actually do some good.”

Huggins estimated $1.7 million has been raised with more to come, including $15,000 from the Infinity Coaches’ Charity Challenge.

“Donations come in all the time,” he said. “I just got a check from one of my former players at Walsh [College].”

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Unfortunately, one of the honorees scheduled to be at the Vitale Gala couldn’t make it, according to Huggins.

ESPN’s Chris Berman was supposed to join Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly and Huggins, but Berman’s wife Kathy tragically died three days prior in a two-car crash in Connecticut. Her memorial service will be held on Wednesday.

“Awful,” Huggins said. “Just awful.”

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All indications, by the way, are Mountaineer guard Jevon Carter will return to Huggins’ team for the 2017-18 season.

Carter submitted his paperwork to enter the upcoming NBA draft, but didn’t hire an agent. That proved wise because Carter, the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Year, wasn’t invited to the NBA Combine.

Huggins said Carter was working out at WVU on Tuesday and has enrolled in summer school.

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And finally

We never stop looking for Mountain State sports connections. Ever.

So here’s another for the pile.

Those in north-central West Virginia no doubt have heard of Fairmont State University assistant baseball coach Dan Kupets, who once was the head coach there as well as at Fairmont Senior.

Well, last week he proudly broke news on Facebook about his niece, Courtney Kupets Carter.

Courtney just happens to be the new head gymnastics coach at the University of Georgia.

Congrats, folks.

Contact Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827 or mitchvingle@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @MitchVingle.

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