Bowling Green State University has tabbed one of its own to take over the reins of the men’s basketball program as 1994 BGSU graduate Michael Huger has been named the 17th head men’s basketball coach, it was announced today by BGSU Director of Athletics D. Christopher Kingston. Huger will be introduced at a Friday press conference at 12 p.m. (noon) inside the Stroh Center on the campus of Bowling Green State University.
“I couldn’t be more excited about bringing Michael and Tonya back to Bowling Green,” Kingston said. “Michael led this program as a player and team captain, and is the best prepared coach to lead this program to new heights. This team, this University and this community just got better.”
Huger, who returns to his alma mater where he was a standout player for the Falcons from 1989-93, most recently wrapped up his fourth season at the University of Miami and his eighth season as an assistant coach for head coach Jim Larranaga, whom he played for at BGSU.
Overall, Huger brings 10 seasons of collegiate coaching experience and nearly a dozen years of professional basketball experience with him back to Bowling Green.
Having joined the Miami staff in April 2011, Huger helped the Canes to a total of 91 wins over the last four seasons, including posting a program record 29 wins in the 2012-13 season, 25 wins this past season and 20 wins in 2011-12. Overall, the Canes posted four straight winning seasons during his time on the sidelines at The U.
Under Huger, the team’s defensive coordinator, the Canes were nationally ranked No. 11 in scoring defense (59.6 ppg) and No. 39 in field goal defense (40.7 percent) in 2013-14, after ranking No. 39 in scoring defense (60.6) and No. 48 in field goal percentage defense (40.0) in 2012-13.
“It is a privilege and honor to be welcomed back home, building on the legacy at Bowling Green which began for me as a student-athlete and now as the Head Coach,” Huger commented. “Bowling Green has always been a very special place for me and my family, as this is where I met my wife, Tonya. We are going to play a fun and exciting style of basketball. Our entire program will be out in the community. We will bring in high character student-athletes who will represent Bowling Green the right way. I want to create a home court advantage in the Stroh Center every single game like we had at Anderson Arena. We are BG!”
In 2014-15, Huger helped to guide Miami to the 2015 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) Championship Game at Madison Square Garden and to an overall record of 25-13, with the 25 wins being the second most all-time in school history. On the season, the Canes defeated three nationally ranked top 25 teams – at No. 8/7 Florida, vs. No. 24/25 Illinois and at No. 4/4 Duke – with two of those wins over ranked opponents coming on the road for the first time since 1998-99. With the Canes’ win over Duke, the eventual 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champions, Miami snapped Duke’s home winning streak at 41 games, what was the longest active streak in NCAA Division I history at the time, and the Blue Devils’ ACC home game winning streak at 19. The Canes also ended Florida’s streak of consecutive home wins at 33 straight victories, which was the longest streak in the Gators’ program history.
Prior to assisting Miami to a 17-16 overall record in 2013-14 after losing all five of its starters from a championship team the previous season, Huger and the Canes played in the Sweet 16 after earning a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament in 2012-13. Miami was the ACC regular season and tournament champion, earned a No. 2 ranking in both national polls and won a school-record 29 games, including 15 conference victories. He helped lead Miami to four 20+ point wins over ACC opponents, including a 27-point rout of No. 1 Duke and victories against North Carolina (+26), Florida State (+24) and Boston College (+22).
In his first season with the Canes in 2011-12, Huger aided Miami in winning nine conference games, en route to finishing tied for fourth place in the ACC. It was the first time the team posted a winning record in the ACC since the program’s first season in the league in 2004-05, and it was the highest the team had ever finished in the final regular season standings before receiving an NIT postseason bid.
While at Miami, Huger helped Durand Scott earn 2013 ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors, while in 2011-12 Kenny Kadji made the All-ACC Third Team and Shane Larkin was picked to be on the ACC All-Freshman Team. Since 2011, a total of four Canes’ in Scott, Larkin, Julian Gamble and Tonye Jekiri were named to the ACC All-Defensive Team. Fellow Canes’ Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan, along with both Scott and Jekiri, also received All-ACC Honorable Mention honors in each of the last four years.
As a former point guard, Huger also worked individually with All-American Larkin, who in 2012-13 was the ACC and Lute Olson National Player of the Year, ACC Championship Tournament MVP, and was a finalist for the Bob Cousy, Naismith and John R. Wooden awards. Larkin left UM after his sophomore season to enter the 2013 NBA Draft.
Prior to following Larranaga to Miami, Huger spent four seasons at George Mason where he helped lead the Patriots to the postseason every year — including NCAA berths in 2008 and 2011. In 2011, the team defeated Villanova to advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, earned a regular-season CAA title and posted a school-record tying 27 wins. In 2009, he helped Mason to an NIT bid and its second-straight 20-win season, and in 2008, Huger helped the Patriots to their second-highest win total in school history as they beat nationally-ranked Kansas State and won the CAA title for the first time since 2001.
Huger began his coaching career at Longwood University (Va.) under Mike Gillian, a former George Mason assistant coach under Larranaga, where he spent two seasons.
Before joining the coaching ranks, Huger played professional basketball in Europe, spending time in Finland (1992-94), two years in Holland (1994-96) and nine in Belgium (1996-2005). He was selected Dutch League MVP in 1996 after averaging 25.3 points and 5.8 assists, and went on to earn first team All-Belgium honors in 2000 and 2004 after leading his clubs to Belgium Cup championships in both seasons.
A native of New York City, Huger is a 1994 graduate of Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s degree in education. He played for Larranaga from 1989-93, helping the Falcons to a pair of NIT appearances. Tabbed the BGSU Team MVP in 1993, he earned Mid-American Conference honors in his final two seasons, and was a Naismith Award nominee and the runner-up for MAC Player of the Year as a senior. As a prep player, he helped lead Stevenson High School (Bronx) to back-to-back PSAL City Championships in 1988 and 1989. He played AAU ball for the famous Riverside Church Hawks.
Photo Courtesy Bowling Green