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Bob Huggins Loses $1M In Salary After Using Slur

  • Huggins has agreed to sign a new contract with a $1 million salary reduction, per ESPN.
  • He’ll also reportedly face a suspension and mandated sensitivity training.
Mar 16, 2023; Birmingham, AL, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins reacts against the Maryland Terrapins during the first half in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament at Legacy Arena.
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins came under fire after using an anti-gay slur — and an anti-Catholic slur — while on a radio interview. 

But the university, which has spent two days considering punishment after condemning his remarks, will not fire him. Instead, Huggins has agreed multiple financial penalties, a three-game suspension, and sensitivity training, the university announced on Wednesday.

Huggins will be terminated if he makes inappropriate comments in the future.

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ESPN first reported some of the details of Huggins’ punishments. 

“While the University has never and will never condone the language used on Monday, we will use this moment to educate how the casual use of inflammatory language and implicit bias affect our culture, our community and our health and well-being,” the school said in a statement. (West Virginia president E. Gordon Gee previously made anti-Catholic remarks of his own while at Ohio State.)

Huggins has agreed to a $1 million reduction in his salary next year; the money will go to LGBTQ+ organizations at the university and in the local community. It is likely one of the largest financial penalties in college sports, per ESPN.

In 2022-23, Huggins made $4.15 million — one of the top 10 highest-paid men’s basketball coaches in all of college sports. With the salary reduction, he will make $3.15 million and will drop out of the top 25 altogether. His contract will also go to a year-to-year basis.

Huggins will also be required to make a “significant donation” to Xavier University, as his comments were directed at the school. Xavier is a Jesuit Catholic university in Cincinnati.

As for sensitivity training, the West Virginia University LGBTQ+ Center will now host programming mandatory not just for Huggins, but also for all coaching staff members across the athletic department. Huggins will be meeting with community leaders at the behest of the LGBTQ+ Center, as the university noted that West Virginia has the highest percentage of transgender children of any state in the country.

“I have no excuse for the language I used, and I take full responsibility,” Huggins said in part in a statement. “I will abide with the actions outlined by the university and athletics leadership to learn from this incident.” 

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