Bob Huggins will remain as the men’s basketball coach at West Virginia after agreeing to a suspension and pay cut for using homophobic slurs during a radio show, a person with knowledge of the decision told the Associated Press on Wednesday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the university had not finalized its decision. The person could not give details on the suspension or amount of salary reduction.
ESPN first reported Huggins would remain coach.
In a blunder that will leave a lasting mark on his Hall of Fame career, Huggins used the slur to refer to Xavier fans Monday while also denigrating Catholics during an appearance on Cincinnati radio station WLW. He later apologized in a statement. The West Virginia athletic department called the comments “offensive” and said it was reviewing the matter.
During the radio show, Huggins was asked about the transfer portal and whether he had a chance of landing a player at West Virginia from Xavier, a Jesuit school.
“Catholics don’t do that,” Huggins said. “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.
“It was the crosstown shootout. What it was was all those (expletive), those Catholic (expletive), I think.”
In a speech Wednesday, Xavier President Colleen Hanycz called Huggins’ comments “repulsive and offensive.”
“The deplorable mischaracterizations and homophobic slurs directed towards our LGBTQ+ and our Catholic communities were repulsive and offensive,” Hanycz said before a press event detailing plans for a new medical school. “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.”
Huggins entered the Basketball Hall of Fame in September. In 41 seasons, his teams have gone to 25 NCAA Tournaments, finished ranked in the top 10 poll seven times and had finished under .500 five times. The Mountaineers have 11 NCAA Tournament appearances under Huggins.
Huggins spent 16 seasons at Cincinnati before being fired in 2005 in a power struggle with the school’s president as well as the aftermath of a 2004 drunken driving arrest. After spending one season at Kansas State, Huggins took his dream job at West Virginia, his alma mater, in 2007.
AP’s Ralph Russo contributed.