Bob Huggins Used a Homophobic Slur in a Radio Interview. Twice.

He has since apologized, and WVU is investigating the incident

Bob Huggins on the sidelines
West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins in February 2023.
David K Purdy/Getty Images

Over the course of his more than 40 years coaching college basketball, West Virginia’s Bob Huggins has reached a number of career milestones and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last year. All of which serves as a precursor to say that he should really know better than to use a homophobic slur — not once, but twice — while in the midst of a live radio interview. There are countless reasons for not using this kind of language ever, including not being bigoted and being respectful of your fellow humans. Evidently, none of this mattered to Huggins.

As Awful Announcing reported, Huggins made the comments during an interview on the Bill Cunningham Show on 700 WLW. The two men discussed Xavier University and its fanbase as it related to a recent Crosstown Shootout. “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,” Huggins said. “I think it was transgender night wasn’t it?” Cunningham replied.

It was at this point that Huggins repeatedly used a homophobic slur prefaced in one case by the word “Catholic.” “They were envious they didn’t have one,” he added.

In a statement released later in the day, West Virginia University Athletics condemned Huggins’s statement. “The situation is under review and will be addressed by the University and its athletics department,” the athletics department added.

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WVU’s statement was released concurrently with one from Huggins himself. “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,” he said. “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,” he continued. “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.”

It’s this part that drives home the hypocrisy at the center of his earlier remarks. One would think that a WVU player — or any player at a comparable program — would face harsh consequences for using similar language, especially in a public context. Huggins, who has been coaching for decades, should know better.

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