Huggins will also be making a “substantial donation” to Xavier University
By: Molly Schramm , Christian LeDuc
CINCINNATI — Former University of Cincinnati basketball coach Bob Huggins will keep his job with West Virginia University after using a homophobic slur multiple times during an interview on Cincinnati radio, the university announced Wednesday.
WVU President E. Gordon Gee and Director of Athletics Wren Baker said Huggins’ comments tarnished the university, but they also provide an opportunity for learning.
“While the University has never and will never condone the language used Monday, we will use this moment to educate how the casual use of inflammatory language and implicit bias affect our culture, our community and our health and well-being,” the two said in a statement Wednesday.
Here is a breakdown of Huggins’ consequences after the incident:
- $1 million salary reduction, which will be donated to WVU’s LGBTQ+ Center, the Carruth Center and other state and national organizations supporting marginalized communities
- Multi-year contract agreement with WVU amended to year-by-year agreement, with the first agreement ending on April 30, 2024
- Suspended from first three games of the 2023-2024 season
- Mandatory training between the WVU Athletics Department and LGBTQ+ Center
- Mandatory meetings with LGBTQ+ leaders from around West Virginia
That salary reduction lessens Huggins’ pay from $4.2 million to $3.2 million.
“We have made it explicitly clear to Coach Huggins that any incidents of similar derogatory and offensive language will result in immediate termination,” the university said.
These consequences come after the former University of Cincinnati basketball coach referred to fans of UC-rival Xavier as “Catholic f**s” while talking with 700WLW’s Bill Cunningham on Monday.
“Have you poached any Xavier guys to come to West Virginia?” Cunningham asks in audio posted by Awful Announcing on Twitter.
“Catholics don’t do that,” Huggins responds. “I tell you what, 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 and Huggins’ former assistant Steve Moeller, who was on the show with him, can be heard laughing.
“I think it was transgender night, wasn’t it?” Cunningham says.
“It was a Crosstown Shootout, yeah no, what it was was all those f**s, those Catholic f**s, I think is what it was,” Huggins responds. “They were envious they didn’t have one.”
Other han Huggins’ consequences at WVU, the university said Huggins volunteered to make a “substantial donation” to Xavier University’s Center for Faith and Justice as well as its Center for Diversity and Inclusion. The exact amount of that donation is unknown.
During a press conference Wednesday for an unrelated event, Xavier President Colleen Hanycz said she wanted to clarify her and the university’s stance on Huggins’ comments, calling them “repulsive” and “offensive.”
“At Xavier, we are steadfastly committed to creating an inclusive, welcoming campus where every member of this community is valued and respected. This is at the very core of our mission and identity as a Jesuit Catholic university,” she said. “The deplorable mischaracterizations and homophobic slurs directed at our LGBTQ+ and our Catholic communities were repulsive and offensive. To those in our Xavier family who were directly targeted and harmed by these hateful words, be assured that you are invaluable members of our Xavier family and you belong here. Your presence makes us better.”
After the 700WLW interview, WCPO reached out to Huggins on the phone. When asked about his comments, Huggins responded, “I’m not doing this, man. I’m not doing this.” Shortly after, West Virginia men’s basketball posted a statement on Twitter from Huggins.
Huggins released an updated statement Wednesday after previously calling his own comments “insensitive and abhorrent.”
“Over the past 48 hours, I have reflected on the awful words that I shared on a radio program earlier this week,” Huggins said. “I deeply regret my actions, the hurt they unfairly caused others and the negative attention my words have brought to West Virginia University.
“I also regret the embarrassment and disappointment it has caused our Athletics family, members of our campus community and the state of West Virginia. I am sorry for the hurt and distress I have caused our students and our student-athletes. I represent more than just our University and our basketball program, and it pains me to know that I have let so many people down.”
Huggins also promised to “do better” as he expressed how he’s looking forward to working with WVU’s LGBTQ+ Center and other organizations.
He also expressed how he regrets his comments about Xavier University.
Cunningham has taken to the airwaves as scheduled, but has not addressed the comments made during Monday’s show. He or 700WLW has yet to issue a statement of any kind since the remarks aired.
In 2020, months after former Reds announcer Thom Brennaman was taken off the air for using the same homophobic slur, Huggins had Brennaman come to WVU and speak with his team about accountability and “(confronting) mistakes head on.”
Before Huggins’ WVU team took on Xavier in December 2022, he commented that he “(doesn’t) have any good thoughts about Xavier whatsoever. None. Absolutely none.” Huggins was 8-8 against the Musketeers while the Bearcats’ head coach from 1989 to 2005.