Bob Huggins will remain the basketball coach West Virginia After agreeing to a suspension and pay cut for using a homophobic slur during a radio show.
Huggins will be suspended for the first three games of the 2023-24 regular season and his salary will be cut by $1 million, The school announced Wednesday. Huggins’ multi-year contract would also be reduced to a one-year deal, and he would be on a zero-tolerance policy if he had “any incidents of similar derogatory and insulting language”. Huggins will also be required to meet and undergo training with the school’s LGBTQ+ Center and the Carruth Center with $1 million of his salary cut going to those institutions.
In a blunder that will leave a permanent mark on his career in the Hall of Fame, Huggins used the slur to refer to Xavier Monday fans while also denigrating Catholics during an appearance on Cincinnati radio station WLW. He later apologized in a statement. The West Virginia Department of Athletics called the comments “offensive” and said it was reviewing the matter.
During the radio show, Huggins was asked about the transfer portal and if he had a chance of landing a West Virginia player from Xavier’s Jesuit School.
“Catholics don’t do that,” Huggins said. “I tell you what, any school can throw rubber rods on the floor and then say they didn’t, and God can get away with anything.
“It was the crosstown game. What it was, it was all these (expletive), these Catholics (expletive), I think.”
In a speech on Wednesday, Xavier’s boss Colin Hanekes called Huggins’ comments “disgusting and insulting.”
“The unfortunate mischaracterizations and slurs against LGBT people and our Catholic communities were abhorrent and offensive,” Hanekes said before a press event detailing plans for a new medical school. “To the members of our Xavier family targeted and directly harmed by these hateful words, rest assured that you are invaluable members of the Xavier family and that you belong here,” said Hannes. “Your presence makes us better.”
Huggins was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this past September. In 41 seasons, his teams have gone to 25 NCAA tournaments, finished in the top ten of the Associated Press poll seven times and finished under . 500 five times. The Mountaineers have made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances under Huggins.
Huggins spent 16 seasons in the Cincinnati before being fired in 2005 in a power struggle with the school president as well as in the aftermath of a 2004 drunk driving arrest. After spending one season in Kansas StateHuggins landed his dream job at West Virginia, his alma mater, in 2007.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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