Head football coach Bob Huggins will return to the West Virginia programme for the upcoming season after serving a three-game ban and taking a $1 million salary reduction as part of a new arrangement that will see him transition from a multiyear offer to a year-by-year contract, the university said on Wednesday. The decision came two days after the coach made an anti-gay slurred radio broadcast in Cincinnati.
Workshops on “dealing with all elements of inequality including homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism, and more” will be co-created by the WVU LGBTQ+ Centre and the department of intercollegiate athletics. Huggins, along with any and all other potential future trainers, must take them.
Chancellor E. Gordon Gee and Athletic Director Wren Baker issued a joint statement in which they claimed, “We have actually made it clear to Coach Huggins that any occurrences of similar bad and offending language will lead to instant termination.”
Huggins will see a decrease in his salary from $4.15 million to $3.15 million. Huggins will also be forced to meet and cooperate with campus mental health experts at the university’s Carruth, where the $1 million from the pay decrease “will be utilised to directly support WVU’s LGBTQ+ Centre,” according to the university.
On Monday, during an interview with Bill Cunningham, a popular and long-term Cincinnati talk-radio broadcaster, Huggins was questioned about Xavier University. Cunningham was Huggins’ crosstown rival during his time at the University of Cincinnati (1989-2005). Huggins twice used an anti-gay term, calling Xavier’s followers “f–, Catholic f–,” to mock the Jesuit faith of the Catholic Church.
This could not go on indefinitely. “It was a moment that unfairly and wrongly hurt a lot of people and has permanently stained West Virginia University,” Gee and Baker wrote.
On Wednesday, Huggins issued a statement in which he apologised for his comments and said he took “complete obligation” for them.
The unfavourable publicity his comments brought West Virginia University was something he really regretted. Please accept my apologies for the shame and disappointment it has caused our sports team, our school, and the whole state of West Virginia. I’m sorry for the emotional distress I’ve caused among our student body and our sports teams. Having let so many people down who I am because of what I stand for (more than just our school and basketball team) is painful.
Huggins will reportedly give a “considerable” amount to Xavier University to support the school’s Centre for Faith and Justice and Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, as reported by WVU.
As Gee and Baker put it, “We likewise take seriously the disparaging manner which the Catholic faith was defined in the remarks.”
On May 10, 2023, Bob Huggins (@CoachHuggs) tweeted as follows:
On Wednesday, at a press event on the university’s plans for its new medical school, President Colleen Hanycz addressed Huggins’ radio comments again after releasing a statement on Tuesday.
“At Xavier, we are steadfastly committed to creating an inclusive, inviting school where every member of this neighbourhood is valued and appreciated,” she added. Our identity as a Jesuit, Catholic university depends on this, and our mission relies on it.
The bigoted and sweeping generalisations made about the LGBTQ+ and Catholic populations were abhorrent. We want the members of our Xavier family who have been targeted by hate speech to know how much they are loved and appreciated. Having you here elevates the quality of life for everyone.
Huggins has maintained a significant profile in Cincinnati since leading the Bearcats men’s basketball team to national prominence and an appearance in the 1992 NCAA Final Four. After his controversial dismissal from the university in 2005, Huggins has remained active in Cincinnati by organising events and delivering speeches. Additionally, he continues to make frequent appearances on Cunningham’s programme.
Cunningham said, “Coach Bob Huggins, you’re on the air.” to introduce Coach Huggins. After Cunningham asked Huggins whether he planned to “poach any Xavier gamers” via the transfer website this offseason, Huggins said, “Catholics do not do that.”
Huggins then made a derogatory remark about Xavier fans, claiming that they tossed “rubber penises” onto the floor during a game between the Musketeers and Bearcats in the annual Crosstown Shootout tournament. I think last night was transgender pride night. Cunningham shot back.
Huggins was 399-127 in 16 seasons with the Cincinnati Bearcats and made the NCAA Tournament 14 years in a row. In August of 2005, Huggins announced his resignation as head coach of the Bearcats. The decision came a year after Huggins’ DUI conviction in June 2004, with university president Nancy Zimpher noting his management style as incompatible with her goals for the academic standing of the programme.
After 17 seasons with West Virginia, Huggins’ record stands at 345-203. His 934 victories at the Division I level put him in fourth place all-time, more than any active coach. In 2022, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Games Needed reading
- Those are verbatim Bob Huggins’s comments. Just how worried is West Virginia?
Coach Bob Huggins of West Virginia justified his team’s use of a homophobic slur during a radio broadcast.