West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, a month after the university suspended him for three games for using an anti-gay slur while also denigrating Catholics during a radio interview.
Huggins, 69, of Morgantown, West Virginia, was pulled over by police in Pittsburgh on Friday night. He was charged with driving under the influence, was released from custody and will appear at a later date for a preliminary hearing, according to a police report.
An officer observed garbage bags with empty beer containers both inside the vehicle and in the trunk, according to a criminal complaint. Huggins said he had been to a basketball camp with his brother in Sherrodsville, Ohio. An officer said Huggins was asked multiple times what city he was in but never got a response. A breath test determined Huggins’ blood alcohol content was 0.21%, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08% in Pennsylvania. A blood sample also was taken from Huggins at a hospital before his release.
It was Huggins’ second such arrest. The other occurred in 2004 when he was the head coach at Cincinnati.
West Virginia’s athletic department said in a statement it was aware of Friday’s incident. “We are gathering more information and will take appropriate action once the review is complete,” the statement said.
Officers observed a black SUV in the middle of a road blocking traffic just before 8.30pm. The vehicle had a flat and shredded tire, and the driver’s side door was open, according to the police report.
Officers directed Huggins to move off the road so they could help with the tire, then activated their lights when they observed Huggins having trouble maneuvering the SUV to allow vehicles to pass. Upon questioning, officers suspected he was intoxicated and asked him to exit the vehicle. The report said he failed standard field sobriety tests, was taken into custody without incident and transported for further testing.
In June 2004, Huggins pleaded no contest to driving under the influence in a suburb of Cincinnati and was ordered to attend a three-day intervention program. The University of Cincinnati suspended him indefinitely with pay and told Huggins to rehabilitate himself.
Huggins was allowed to return to work two months later, saying that “I made a terrible mistake, and what bothers me most is I hurt other people. All I can do is work like crazy to be a better person, a better coach, be better at everything I do and make those people proud of me.”
By 2005, Huggins’ 16-year career at Cincinnati was over; he was fired amid a power struggle with the school’s president as well as the aftermath of the 2004 arrest.
After spending one season at Kansas State, Huggins took his dream job at West Virginia, his alma mater, in 2007.
Last month Huggins agreed to a three-game suspension, a $1m salary reduction and sensitivity training for using the slur during an interview with Cincinnati radio station WLW. Huggins was asked about the transfer portal and whether he had a chance of landing a player at West Virginia from Xavier, a Jesuit school.
“Catholics don’t do that,” Huggins said. “I tell you what, 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.
“It was the Crosstown Shootout. What it was, was all those fags, those Catholic fags, I think.”
In a joint statement later that week, West Virginia University President Gordon Gee and athletic director Wren Baker said the university “made it explicitly clear to Coach Huggins that any incidents of similar derogatory and offensive language will result in immediate termination.”
Huggins’ salary of $4.15m will be reduced by $1m. 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. He is suspended for the first three games of the 2023-24 season. In addition, his contract will be amended from a multiyear agreement to a year-by-year agreement that began on May 10 of this year and ends on 30 April 2024.
Huggins entered the Basketball Hall of Fame last September. In 41 seasons, his teams have gone to 25 NCAA tournaments, finished ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll seven times and finished under .500 five times. The Mountaineers have 11 NCAA tournament appearances under Huggins.