Basketball coach Bob Huggins issues grovelling apology after branding rival fans ‘Catholic f*gs’

Bob Huggins has been head coach of West Virginia mens basketball team since 2007. (Getty Images)

A US college basketball coach has issued a grovelling public apology after describing fans of a rival team as “Catholic f*gs” and accusing them of throwing rubber penises at a game.

West Virginia University men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins used the homophobic slur to describe Xavier University fans while appearing on Cincinnati-based radio station 700WLW’s Bill Cunningham Show on Monday (May 8) morning to talk about his coaching career.

Host Bill Cunningham asked whether Huggins had ever “poached any Xavier guys to play for West Virginia” during the National Collegiate Athletics Association transfer window, prompting Huggins to reply: “Catholics don’t do that.”

He added: “Any school that can throw rubber penises on the floor then say they didn’t do it, by God they can get away with anything.”

Discussing the game at which the alleged rubber penis-throwing incident occurred, Cunningham asked: “It was transgender night, wasn’t it?”

Huggins, 69, responded: “Yeah, what it was, all those f*gs, those Catholic f*gs, I think.”

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Huggins, nicknamed Huggy Bear, released a statement shortly after the interview, apologising for the “insensitive and abhorrent” language he used and stating that there “there is simply no excuse” and he will “fully accept… the consequences”.

His statement read: “I deeply apologise 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 any coming my way. I am ashamed and embarrassed and heartbroken for those I have hurt. I must do better, and I will.”

Following Huggins’s apology, West Virginia University (WVU) Athletics department also issued a statement, saying the situation is under review and that they will be investigating the matter.

“Coach Huggins’ remarks today on a Cincinnati radio show were insensitive, offensive and do not represent our university values,” the WVU statement said.

“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 athletics department.”

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