The news of Huggins’ suspension comes after he made viral headlines during a Cincinnati radio appearance. Huggins appeared to use a homophobic slur when discussing Xavier via Bill Cunningham’s WLW radio show on Monday. The hosts asked Huggins if he had recruited anybody from the Musketeers before rekindling an old memory of a Crosstown Shootout matchup with Cincinnati.
That’s when the apparent use of the slur occurred, with Huggins calling Xavier fans “Catholic f***” after describing them throwing things onto the court.
Huggins will miss the first three games of the season as part of the suspension, per EerSports. However, the punishment is expected to end before the Mountaineers travel to Florida for the Fort Myers Tip-Off.
As for the contract status of Huggins, EerSports added that the Mountaineers leader’s extension that he signed in August of 2021 is now coming under fire, but nothing concrete has been reported yet. It’ll be interesting to see what the final verdict is.
Moreover, Awful Announcing was able to gather the audio and pinpoint the exact moment Huggins made a gigantic error. You can listen to a portion of the radio call-in where Huggins uses the slur here. Warning the following audio contains graphic language.
Shortly after the initial comments, Huggins released a statement on the incident.
“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,” the statement read. “During the conversation, I used a completely 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.”
A black eye on a legendary career for Huggins
Huggins began his career as the head coach in Akron in 1984. He spent five seasons with the Zips before accepting the head coaching job at Cincinnati. There, Huggins made quite a name for himself, going 398-128 over a 16-season span. In that time, Huggins went to the NCAA Tournament 14 times, including a trip to the Final Four in 1992.
Despite his strong success at Cincinnati, Huggins’ tenure at the school came to an ugly end, including a DUI arrest and the demand for the school to recruit players that stayed out of negative headlines more, per a 2005 article from ESPN.
After stepping down at Cincinnati, Huggins spent one season out of coaching before he was hired back into the profession by Kansas State in 2006. Huggins quickly turned the Wildcats around, going 23-12 in his first season at a program that had not won 20 games in seven straight seasons. Huggins also was set to bring in top recruits for the Wildcats, but the opening at his alma mater had him packing his bags after just one season.
During his 38 seasons as a college basketball coach, Huggins has compiled a record of 863-389. Huggins has taken teams to the NCAA Tournament 26 times, including two trips to the Final Four, once with Cincinnati in 1992 and once with West Virginia in 2010. Huggins has been the conference coach of the year in various conferences five times, was the C-USA Coach of the Decade in 2005 and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2022.
On3’s Steve Samra and Griffin McVeigh contributed to this report
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