WVU reviewing incident after Huggins uses anti-gay slur on air

Bob Huggins, the longtime West Virginia men's basketball coach, used an anti-gay slur in an interview with a Cincinnati radio station on Monday, an incident he later apologized for in a statement.

The situation is under review by both the university and its athletic department.

During an appearance on the Bill Cunningham Show on Newsradio 700 WLW, Huggins was asked about his former in-city rivalry with Xavier during his time as the Cincinnati coach from 1989 to 2005.

"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 in the interview.

Cunningham then responded and said, "I think it was 'transgender night,' wasn't it?"

Huggins then said, "What it was, was all those f-gs, those Catholic f-gs, I think."

He then added: "They were envious they didn't have one," which appeared to be a reference to his earlier comments about objects that had been thrown onto the court during a game between Xavier and Cincinnati.

On the Mountaineers men's basketball Twitter page, a statement of apology appeared from Huggins at 5:21 p.m. ET.

"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," the statement read.

"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 [anything] coming my way. I am ashamed and embarrassed and heartbroken for those I have hurt. I must do better, and I will."

Nearly 20 minutes later, a statement from the university landed on the Mountaineers' athletic department Twitter page, addressing the "insensitive, offensive" remarks.

"Coach Huggins' remarks today on a Cincinnati radio show were insensitive, offensive and do not represent our university values," the statement read. "West Virginia University does not condone the use of such language and takes such actions very seriously. The situation is under review and will be addressed by the university and its athletic department."

Fairness WV, a group that "is the statewide civil rights advocacy organization dedicated to fair treatment and civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender West Virginians," released a statement on Tuesday, a day after Huggins' interview.

"Coach Bob Huggins embarrassed his team, his university and Mountaineers everywhere yesterday by casually using a homophobic slur and disparaging transgender people in a radio interview," the statement read. "It's well known that this slur has been a tool to torment and harass our community. There is no excuse for using that kind of language in the year 2023.

"Coach Huggins' words are particularly painful because he is loved by thousands of West Virginians, including many LGBTQ people," the statement added. "Thousands of young Mountaineers look up to Coach Huggins, and this week they saw their role model using slurs and demeaning another team for their faith. His apology was a good first step, but now he needs to show us that his words are not empty."

Huggins, 69, is a West Virginia graduate who also coached at Akron before being hired at Cincinnati then coached at Kansas State before joining the Mountaineers. In 38 years on the Division I college sidelines, Huggins has an 863-389 career record and a .689 winning percentage.