Bob Huggins to make ‘substantial donation’ to Xavier after anti-gay slur

Bob Huggins used an anti-gay slur in reference to Xavier students during an interview with 700WLW.
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 10:51 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Bob Huggins will not be fired by West Virginia following his use of an anti-gay slur in reference to Xavier students during an interview on 700 WLW Monday, West Virginia President E. Gordon Gee announced Wednesday.

While he will not be fired, Huggins will be suspended for the three regular-season games of the 2023-24 season, receive a $1 million salary reduction and will be required to go to sensitivity training.

Huggins’ contract with WVU is being amended from a multi-year deal to a year-by-year agreement.

The 69-year-old coach “volunteered” to make a “substantial donation” to Xavier University to support its Center for Faith and Justice and its Center for Diversity and Inclusion, President Gee explained.

Wednesday’s announcement that Huggins would not be fired comes two days after an interview on 700WLW with Bill Cunningham.

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

In the time since making the comments which jeopardized his coaching career, Huggins says he has reflected on what he said and “deeply” regrets it.

He vowed that he will “do better” going forward as he works with WVU’s LGBTQ+ Center and state organizations.

Huggins on Monday called described what he said as a “completely insensitive and abhorrent phrase.”

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.

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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