WVU Docks Huggins $1 Million for Slurs in Radio Rant

West Virginia University on Wednesday suspended men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins for the first three games the 2023-24 season, reduced his reportedly $4.15 million annual salary by $1 million, and shifted his employment contract from a multiyear to year-to-year arrangement for his anti-gay and anti-Catholic slurs.

The moves follow Huggins’ appearance on the Bill Cunningham show on Cincinnati Newsradio 700 WLW on Monday. During the show, Huggins talked about his previous experience coaching the University of Cincinnati and the school’s rivalry with Xavier University, a Jesuit Catholic school.

Scroll to continue with content

More from Sportico.com

“Any school that can throw rubber penises on the floor and then say they didn’t do it, my God, they can get away with anything,” Huggins said. After the host remarked, “I think it was ‘transgender night,’ wasn’t it,” Huggins replied, “What it was, was all those f-gs, those Catholic f-gs, I think.”

Huggins issued a statement apologizing for his remarks. WVU president Gordon Gee and vice president and director of WVU athletics Wren Baker said in a statement on Wednesday that Huggins’ remarks were “inexcusable” and created “a moment that unfairly and inappropriately hurt many people and has tarnished West Virginia University.”


Huggins, 68, signed a contract extension in 2021 that runs through June 30, 2024, with mutual options to continue it for three additional years.

Huggins agreed to conditions in which the school could terminate his contract for cause, which relieves WVU of the obligation to pay going forward.

Signed in 2017, the contract authorizes a for-cause firing if (among other scenarios) Huggins committed a “severe” violation of NCAA, conference or university rules, a crime, an act of moral turpitude, conduct “clearly contrary to the character and responsibilities of a person occupying” the position, conduct that “offends the traditions of the University” or conduct that “harms the University’s reputation.”

This flexible language provides WVU with sizable discretion and interpretative power. Had WVU fired Huggins for cause, Huggins would likely struggle to credibly challenge the school.


Another factor that gave WVU power: If Huggins were fired, he would probably struggle to obtain new employment as a coach, at least at a major program. At many schools, board of trustees, administration, faculty, staff and students would be inclined to voice opposition to the hiring of a highly paid, high-profile person who made such comments.

Huggins was the highest-paid public employee in the state of West Virginia in 2022, earning $4.26 million. The million-dollar reduction will lead to Huggins earning less than his WVU colleague, football coach Neal Brown.

Click here to read the full article.