West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins is expected to retain his job next season despite using a homophobic slur during a radio interview earlier this week.
News of Huggins anticipated return to the sideline was reported by ESPN’s Pete Thamel Wednesday morning. According to Thamel, Huggins has agreed to a salary reduction of one million dollars. Details have not been finalized yet, but the 69-year-old will also receive a suspension and undergo sensitivity training.
Monday afternoon, Huggins appeared on 700 WLW’s Bill Cunningham Show in Cincinnati. During the appearance, Cunningham asked Huggins, who coached at the University of Cincinnati from 1989-2005, if he “poached any Xavier guys to come play for West Virginia.” Huggins said, “Catholics don’t do that” and proceeded to reference Xavier fans and a prior incident at the Crosstown Shootout, leading to the following reprehensible exchange.
⚠️ Here’s the audio of Bob Huggins calling Xavier fans “Catholic f–s” during an appearance on Bill Cunningham’s WLW radio show in Cincinnati pic.twitter.com/JTftGx9rQE
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) May 8, 2023
Huggins: “Any school that can throw rubber penises on the floor and then say they didn’t do it, by god they can get away with anything.”
Cunningham: “I think it was transgender night, wasn’t it?”
Huggins: “It was a Crosstown Shootout, yeah, no, what it was, was all those f–s, those Catholic f–s I think”
Cunningham: “All right.”
Huggins: “They were envious they didn’t have one.”
After audio of Huggins using anti-gay slurs went viral, the head coach issued an apology through a statement released on Twitter.
“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,” the statement read. “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 community, and West Virginia University. As I have shared with my players 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.”
West Virginia’s athletic department also released a statement on Monday, where they acknowledged his remarks were “insensitive” and “offensive” and stated the “situation is under review.”
Two days later, the review appears to have concluded with West Virginia determining the best course of action is for Huggins to return to the sideline and earn a $3.2 million salary in the wake of his homophobic comments.