West Virginia University basketball coach Bob Huggins will not be fired despite using a homophobic slur during a radio interview but will take a $1 million cut to his salary.
Huggins, 69, called Xavier basketball fans “Catholic f--s” on the radio Monday while speaking with Cincinnati, Ohio station 700 WLW.
Rather than letting him go, West Virginia hit Huggins with a “significant suspension” and a $1 million pay cut, ESPN reported Wednesday. He’ll also have to undergo sensitivity training.
Before taking the West Virginia job in 2007, Huggins coached at the University of Cincinnati for 16 years. The school’s chief basketball rival is Xavier University, just two miles down the road.
Huggins was discussing one rivalry game with Cincinnati radio host Bill Cunningham in which he remembered Xavier fans throwing dildos on the court.
“It was a Crosstown Shootout. Yeah, no, what it was was all those f—s, those Catholic f—s, I think,” Huggins said. “They were envious they didn’t have one.”
Both Huggins and West Virginia apologized shortly after the audio went viral on social media. In his statement, Huggins said he would “fully accept” whatever discipline the university imposed.
“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. “I deeply apologize to the individuals I have offended.”
Before the comments, Huggins made $4.2 million per year as West Virginia basketball coach. Despite leaving the Cincinnati-Xavier rivalry behind nearly two decades ago, he said last December that he hasn’t mellowed on his old foes.
“I don’t have any good thoughts of Xavier whatsoever,” Huggins told reporters on Dec. 2. “None. Absolutely none.”