West Virginia University said it was reviewing and would later address the homophobic comments that its men’s basketball coach, the Hall of Famer Bob Huggins, made on Monday during a live radio interview.
Appearing on the Cincinnati station 700WLW’s “Bill Cunningham Show,” Huggins was discussing his 16-season tenure with the University of Cincinnati and the school’s intracity rivalry with Xavier University. In recalling a Crosstown Shootout game between the schools, he twice called Xavier fans a homophobic slur, saying they would “throw rubber penises on the floor and then say they didn’t do it.”
In a statement, West Virginia said that Huggins’s remarks “were insensitive, offensive” and did not represent its values. The school “does not condone the use of such language and takes such actions very seriously. The situation is under review and will be addressed by the university and its athletics department.”
Asked if Huggins, 69, would be permitted to continue recruiting and working during the review, a spokesman for the men’s basketball team referred to the university’s statement. Huggins did not respond to a text message asking if he had been disciplined by the university.
The summer recruiting period hits its peak in July. College coaches can host prospects for official and unofficial visits until May 18 and then again starting May 27. Coaches cannot go out on the recruiting trail again until mid-June.
Huggins issued an apology before the university released its statement, saying he’d “fully accept” any consequences for his comments.
“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,” Huggins said in a statement. “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.”
He did not make a scheduled appearance at a West Virginia fund-raising event in Wheeling, W.Va., Monday night; his longtime assistant, Ron Everhart, appeared instead.
“He had a conflict and won’t be able to attend tonight,” West Virginia’s athletic director, Wren Baker, told local reporters.
Huggins has coached at West Virginia since 2007. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2022 and is one of only six men’s coaches to accumulate 900 career wins in Division I. A West Virginia alumnus, Huggins guided the program to the Final Four in 2010, a feat the team had not accomplished since the 1950s.
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