NCAAB: WVU’s Bob Huggins takes $1M salary reduction following slur

Hall of Fame coach Bob Huggins received a million-dollar salary reduction and a three-game suspension to begin the 2023-24 season after he used an anti-gay slur in a radio interview earlier this week, the school announced Wednesday.

In addition, Huggins will see his employment contract amended from a multi-year agreement to a year-by-year deal that will begin on Wednesday and end on April 30, 2024.

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Per a lengthy statement from West Virginia President E. Gordon Gee and Wren Baker, the athletic director, “Those dollars will be used to directly support WVU’s LGBTQ+ Center, the Carruth Center (mental health), and other state and national organizations that support marginalized communities.”

Huggins, 69, also will be required to take part in sensitivity training following his controversial remarks made during an appearance on a Cincinnati sports radio show on Monday. Huggins has since apologized for his comments.

“It was inexcusable. It was a moment that unfairly and inappropriately hurt many people and has tarnished West Virginia University,” Gee and Baker said in a statement.

“… We have made it explicitly clear to Coach Huggins that any incidents of similar derogatory and offensive language will result in immediate termination.”

Huggins, who coached at Cincinnati from 1989-2005, was discussing the Bearcats’ annual crosstown rivalry game against Xavier when his conversation with WLW host Bill Cunningham became “insensitive” and “offensive,” in the words of West Virginia officials.

Huggins talked about Xavier fans throwing “rubber penises” onto the court, blaming “all those f–s, those Catholic f–s” for those actions.

Per the lengthy statement from Gee and Baker, Huggins and all current and future athletics coaching staff will be required to attend annual training sessions with the school’s LGBTQ+ Center to address all aspects of inequality, including homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism and more.

Huggins also will be required to meet with LGBTQ+ leaders from across West Virginia as well as leadership from the school’s Carruth Center “to better understand the mental health crisis facing our college students, particularly those in marginalized communities.”

The Mountaineers’ men’s basketball Twitter account published a lengthy apology from Huggins on Monday.

“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. 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 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.”

Huggins has coached West Virginia since 2007. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2022 and is one of only six men’s coaches to reach 900 career wins.

Huggins signed a two-year extension in August 2021 that was scheduled to pay him $4.15 million for the 2023-24 season.

–Field Level Media

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