Morgantown, WV – West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins has agreed to a three-game suspension, a $1 million salary reduction and sensitivity training for using a homophobic slur during a radio interview, the university announced Wednesday.
The agreement allows Huggins to keep his job as the school’s coach, but the blunder will leave a lasting mark on his Hall of Fame career.
West Virginia University President Gordon Gee and athletic director Wren Baker said in a joint statement that the university has “made it explicitly clear to Coach Huggins that any incidents of similar derogatory and offensive language will result in immediate termination.”
Under the agreement, Huggins and all current and future athletics coaching staff will be required to undergo training that will be developed by the university’s LGBTQ+ Center to address all aspects of inequality, including homophobia, transphobia and sexism. Huggins also will be required to meet with LGBTQ+ leaders from across the state.
“We will never truly know the damage that has been done by the words said in those 90 seconds,” Gee and Baker said. “Words matter and they can leave scars that can never be seen. 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.”
Under the agreement, Huggins’ salary of $4.15 million will be reduced by $1 million. That reduction will be used to directly support WVU’s LGBTQ+ Center, as well as a mental health center at the university and other groups that support marginalized communities.
Huggins will be suspended for the first three games of the 2023-24 season. In addition, his contract will be amended from a multi-year agreement to a year-by-year agreement that will begin on May 10 of this year and end on April 30, 2024.