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Coach Bob Huggins calls Xavier fans homophobic slur on radio show

The West Virginia men's basketball coach repeatedly used a homophobic slur to describe fans of a rival school of his former program.
Coach Bob Huggins calls Xavier fans homophobic slur on radio show
Posted at 4:52 PM, May 15, 2023

West Virginia men's basketball coach Bob Huggins has issued an apology after he said a homophobic slur multiple times during an interview on Cincinnati radio.

Huggins, who spent more than 15 years coaching the University of Cincinnati's program, referred to fans of rival Xavier as "Catholic f**s" while talking to WLW's Bill Cunningham on Monday.

"Have you poached any Xavier guys to come to West Virginia?" Cunningham asks.

"Catholics don't do that," Huggins responds. "I tell you what, 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."

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Cunningham and former Huggins assistant Steve Moeller, now a broadcaster for Northern Kentucky University men's basketball, can be heard laughing.

"I think it was transgender night, wasn't it?" Cunningham says.

"It was a Crosstown Shootout, yeah no, what it was was all those f**s, those Catholic f**s, I think is what it was," Huggins responds. "They were envious they didn't have one."

After Huggins' comments, Cunningham can be heard laughing.

"Is he the best?" Cunningham asks Moeller.

"He's the best," Moeller says.

"The best ever," Cunningham follows.

After the show, Scripps News Cincinnati reached out to Huggins on the phone. When asked about his comments, Huggins responded, "I'm not doing this, man. I'm not doing this." Shortly after, West Virginia men's basketball posted a statement on Twitter from Huggins.

"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," Huggins said in the statement. "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."

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WVU's athletic department released a statement soon after, calling Huggins' remarks "insensitive" and "offensive."

"West Virginia University does not condone the use of such language and takes such actions very seriously," WVU Sports said. "The situation is under review and will be addressed by the university and its athletic department."

In 2020, months after former Cincinnati Reds announcer Thom Brennaman was taken off the air for using the same homophobic slur, Huggins had Brennaman come to WVU and speak with his team about accountability and "(confronting) mistakes head on."

Before Huggins' WVU team took on Xavier in December 2022, he commented that he "(doesn't) have any good thoughts about Xavier whatsoever. None. Absolutely none." Huggins was 8-8 against Xavier while he was University of Cincinnati's head coach from 1989 to 2005. 

This story was originally published by Taylor Weiter on wcpo.com.


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