Bob Huggins apologizes for using anti-gay slur during radio interview

Huggins said he is “ashamed and embarrassed and heartbroken” and will accept any consequences coming his way.
Published: May. 8, 2023 at 5:36 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Bob Huggins issued an apology Monday evening for using, in his words, a “completely insensitive and abhorrent phrase” during a radio interview Monday morning with Bill Cunningham on 700WLW.

Huggins, the University of Cincinnati’s men’s basketball head coach for 16 seasons, published the apology through the Twitter account of West Virginia’s men’s basketball team, where he is currently the head coach.

The website Awful Announcing obtained and published a recording of the interview portion where Huggins reportedly used a homophobic slur twice referring to Xavier University fans. The recording can be found here.

Huggins’ apology reads in full:

“Earlier today on a Cincinnati radio program, I was asked about the rivalry between my former employer, the University of Cincinnati, and its crosstown rival, Xavier University. During the conversation, I used a completely insensitive and abhorrent phrase that there is simply no excuse for — and I won’t try to make one here. I deeply apologize to the individuals I have offended, as well as to the Xavier University community, the University of Cincinnati and West Virginia University. As I have shared with my platers over my 40 years of coaching, there are consequences for our words and actions, and I will fully accept any coming my way. I am ashamed and embarrassed and heartbroken for those I have hurt. I must do better, and I will.”

The West Virginia Athletics Department issued a statement moments after Huggins’ tweet surfaced:

“Coach Huggins’ remarks today on a Cincinnati radio show were insensitive, offensive and do not represent our University values. Coach Huggins has since apologized. West Virginia University does not condone the use of such language and takes such actions very seriously. The situation is under review and will be addressed by the University and its athletics department.”

On Tuesday, Xavier University issued a statement on Huggins’ comments.

Bob Huggins used a homophobic slur twice referring to Xavier University fans during a radio interview.

Huggins began at UC in 1989. He is credited with resurrecting the school’s storied basketball program from a 12-year doldrum during which the Bearcats failed to make the NCAA tournament and recorded just one winning record.

UC would play in the postseason every year with Huggins at the helm, including 1992′s Final Four appearance and Elite Eight showings in both 1993 and 1996.

Huggins was selected ESPN’s national coach of the year in 2001-02. The program won 25 or more games every year but one in the decade preceding 2005.

Arguably Huggins’ best team came in the 1999-2000 season when the Bearcats went 29-4 behind consensus National Player of the Year and future first-overall NBA Draft pick Kenyon Martin. Martin suffered a broken leg in the Conference USA Tournament, and UC fell to Tulsa in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Huggins accepted a $3 million buyout to resign in August 2005 as part of a negotiated departure with UC President Nancy Zimpher following a DUI arrest in 2004 and two player arrests the following spring.

Huggins coached at Kansas State for one season before leaving for West Virginia University, from which he graduated magna cum laude in 1977.

He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2022 and is the fourth-winningest NCAA men’s Division I basketball head coach of all-time.

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