The West Virginia University men’s basketball coach who used a homophobic slur during an interview He will keep his position, but will take a $1 million pay cut and be suspended for three games.
Bob Huggins was making an appearance on Radio Host Bill Cunningham’s Show on a Cincinnati radio station on May 8. Huggins, a former basketball coach at the University of Cincinnati, was asked about the rivalry between that team and Xavier University. Huggins, who managed the team from 1989-2005, used multiple slurs in his response.
In a statement, West Virginia University called Huggins’ comments “insensitive, offensive” and said they “do not represent our university values.” At the time, the university said Huggins’ behavior was under review and he would be addressed soon.
In an apology statement, Huggins said he was “embarrassed and heartbroken for those” he had “hurt.” Huggins, 70, said he would “fully accept” any response from the school.
On May 10, the university announced multiple responses to Huggins’ comments. Huggins’ salary will be reduced by $1 million, he will be suspended for three games and his contract will be year-to-year instead of a multi-year deal, the school said. It has also been made “explicitly clear” that similar language will result in his dismissal, the university said.
In a statement, school officials said the incident “provides an opportunity to learn” and said they will “use this moment to educate how the casual use of inflammatory language and implicit bias affects our culture, our community, and our health and well-being.” . .”
To reach that goal, the school’s athletic department will partner with its LGBTQ+ center to develop annual training sessions that address homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism and more, the school said. The required training will be required of Huggins and “all current and future athletic training personnel,” the school said. Huggins will also be required to meet with LGBTQ+ leaders from across the state, with the center’s guidance, and partner with statewide organizations.
“Through those conversations, it is our hope that Coach Huggins, in agreement with these partners, will engage in additional opportunities to show support for the LGBTQ+ community,” the school said.
Huggins will also meet with leadership of the school’s Carruth Center, a mental health clinic, to “better understand the mental health crisis” facing college students and those in underserved communities.
The $1 million cut from Huggins’ annual salary will go to support the LGBTQ+ Center, the Carruth Center and other state and national organizations with the same goals, West Virginia University said. Huggins will also make a substantial donation to Xavier University, a suggestion she made and with which WVU officials agreed, the school said.
“We will never really know the damage the words spoken in those 90 seconds have done. Words matter and can leave scars that can never be seen. But words can also heal,” school officials said. “And by taking this moment to learn more about another person’s perspective, speak with respect, and lead with understanding, perhaps the words ‘do better’ will lead to meaningful change for all of us.”
in a statement shared by school and on social mediaHuggins called his words “horrible” and said he was “deeply” sorry for the comments. He said he hoped his donation to Xavier University would support students at the school, adding that he was “looking forward” to working with the LGBTQ+ Center and other organizations “to learn more about issues facing the community.” .
“I have no excuse for the language I used and I take full responsibility,” Huggins said. “I will abide by the actions outlined by the University and Athletics leadership to learn from this incident. I have had several conversations with colleagues and friends whom I deeply respect and admire over the past 24 hours, and I am well aware of the pain I have caused. I meant what I wrote on Monday: I’ll do better.”