That was an expensive radio interview.
West Virginia University basketball coach Bob Huggins has been under fire for anti-gay comments made during an interview this week with Bill Cunningham on 700 WLW in Cincinnati, a place that Huggins knows well after spending 16 years as the head coach at the University of Cincinnati.
While the two were yucking it up, Cunningham jokingly asked Huggins if he had poached any players from Cincinnati’s rival school, Xavier, in the transfer portal.
Huggins responded by taking a jab at the Catholic school – his former rival from his days at Cincy:
“Catholics don’t do that.
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.”
Huggins was apparently referencing an incident where Xavier fans had thrown sex toys onto the floor while he was the coach at Cincinnati.
The host then said:
“I think it was transgender night wasn’t it?”
Huggins then responded with a homophobic slur – not once, but twice:
“No, what it was, was all those f**s. Those Catholic f**s I think is what it was. They were envious they didn’t have one.”
“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.”
The university also issued a statement indicating that were reviewing the situation and would be addressing it:
“Coach Huggins’ remarks today on a Cincinnati radio show were insensitive, offensive and do not represent our university values. Coach Huggins has since apologized.
West Virginia University does not condone the use of such language and takes such actions very seriously. The situation is under investigation and will be addressed by the university and its athletic department.”
The uproar has continued since the interview, with many across both national and state sports media calling for Huggins to be fired for using the slur.
But it sounds like WVU has made a decision, and Huggins is going to get to keep his job – though he’s going to give up a decent chunk of change for the mistake.
According to ESPN, Huggins met with WVU president Gordon Gee this week and agreed to a $1 million salary reduction, bringing his salary for the year from $4.2 million to $3.2 million. It’s reported to be one of the largest salary reductions in the history of college athletics. And the new contract could also come with changes to the term, which currently had Huggins locked in as the coach at WVU through the 2026-27 season.
Huggins will also be served with a “significant” suspension, though another source reported the suspension will only be for 3 games. And the coach will also have to undergo sensitivity training before returning to the stool on the WVU bench.
Huggins is the winningest active coach in D-I college basketball. He’s won 934 games over a career that’s spanned more than 40 years. He’s a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, and one of only six college coaches ever with more than 900 career victories. Huggins has been the head coach at his alma mater since 2007, after previous stops at Kansas State and Cincinnati, among others.
I bet we don’t hear much from Bob Huggins on the radio anymore – at least not any time soon.
At $1 million a pop, those interviews are expensive.