West Virginia Suspends Bob Huggins and Cuts His Pay Over Homophobic Slur

Bob Huggins will keep his job as head men’s basketball coach at West Virginia, the university said Wednesday, but will be suspended for three games and take a pay cut after he used an anti-gay slur twice and mocked Catholics during an interview with a Cincinnati radio station last week. This.

The university said it would amend Huggins’ contract and reduce his annual salary by $1 million, down from $4.15 million. He will be required to undergo sensitivity training and will miss the first three games of the 2023-24 season.

In a joint statementthe university’s president and athletic director said Huggins, the winningest active coach in Division I men’s basketball, would be fired immediately if he made similar offensive comments in the future.

During an interview Monday on Cincinnati radio station 700 WLW, Huggins described fans of Xavier University, a Jesuit institution, using homophobic slurs and underscoring the school’s religious affiliation. While discussing his 16-season tenure with the University of Cincinnati and the school’s intracity rivalry with Xavier, Huggins twice directed homophobic slurs towards Xavier fans, referring to them who would “throw a rubber penis on the floor, and then say no to it.” do.”

Huggins, 69, issued an apology as part of the university’s statement, saying he deeply regretted his comments and the hurt they had caused.

“I have no excuses for the language I used, and I take full responsibility,” he said in Wednesday’s statement. “I will adhere to the actions outlined by the College and Athletics leadership to learn from this incident. I have had several conversations with colleagues and friends I greatly respect and admire over the last 24 hours, and I am acutely aware of the pain I have caused.”

In addition to the pay cut, Huggins will make a personal donation to Xavier to support the Centers for Faith and Justice and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, although the amount of the donation is not specified. He will also be asked to meet with LGBTQ leaders from across the state of West Virginia.

In August 2021, Huggins signed a contract extension through the 2023–24 season which made him one of the highest paid coaches in college basketball. Under the previous contract, Huggins would have had the option to coach “or extend his relationship” with the university until June 2027. In Wednesday’s announcement, the university said Huggins’ current contract would be converted into a year-by-year agreement that would expire. on April 30, 2024.

A university statement said the $1 million deducted from Huggins’ salary would be used to support an LGBTQ center, mental health counseling center and other organizations.

“While the University has never and will never condone the language used on Mondays, we will use this moment to educate how the use of inflammatory language and implicit bias affects our culture, our communities, and our health and well-being,” the statement said.

Huggins has coached in West Virginia since 2007. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2022 and is one of only six male coaches to amass 900 career wins in Division I.

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