West Virginia University (WVU) announced that its men’s basketball coach, Bob Huggins, has accepted a pay cut from his annual salary among other punishments in the wake of his use of an anti-gay slur during a radio show appearance, which he later apologized for.
In a statement Wednesday, WVU President E. Gordon Gee and athletic director Wren Baker said that the $1 million taken away from Huggins’s salary will be used to support WVU’s LGBTQ+ Center, the Carruth Center, and other state and national organizations that support marginalized communities.
According to ESPN, Huggins’s WVU salary will drop from $4.2 million to $3.2 million on a yearly basis. Huggins’s contact with the school will also be amended from a multi-year agreement to a year-by-year agreement that began Wednesday and will end in April 2024.
The school also said that the athletic department will partner with its LGBTQ+ Center “to develop annual training sessions that will address all aspects of inequality including homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism and more,” adding that Huggins and all WVU current and future coaches will have to go through this process.
“To address the concerns of our West Virginia youth, Coach Huggins will be required to meet with LGBTQ+ leaders from across West Virginia with guidance from the leadership of WVU’s LGBTQ+ Center. We want to partner with ACLU-WV, Fairness WV, Morgantown Pride and other organizations to elevate the conversation regarding the issues that affect our state,” Gee and Baker said in the statement, adding that Huggins is also required to meet with leadership from the school’s Carruth Center to better understand the mental health crisis facing WVU college students and raise awareness on the matter.
“We will never truly know the damage that has been done by the words said in those 90 seconds. Words matter and they can leave scars that can never be seen,” WVU’s statement said. “But words can also heal.”
“And by taking this moment to learn more about another’s perspective, speak respectfully and lead with understanding, perhaps the words “do better” will lead to meaningful change for all.”
Huggins, 69, will be suspended for the first three games of the 2023-2024 season, and the school leadership said they have “have made it explicitly clear to Coach Huggins that any incidents of similar derogatory and offensive language will result in immediate termination.”
This comes as Huggins issued an apology Monday, hours after using an anti-gay slur during a radio program appearance.
During a guest appearance on the “Bill Cunningham Show” on Cincinnati radio station Newsradio 700 WLW, Huggins made several anti-gay remarks and slurs directed toward Xavier University’s fanbase, which he alleged was hostile toward him and his team during games while he was a coach at rival University of Cincinnati.
“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,” Huggins said in a statement Monday.
“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 WVU alumnus, Huggins has spent the last 16 seasons leading his alma mater, compiling a 345-203 record, 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, and one Final Four appearance.
E. Gordon Gee
West Virginia University
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