Friday, March 21, 2003

Referee to Machock: 'You're out'

Official says broadcaster directed profane comments at him

By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati head coach Bob Huggins sits in front of his bench during the first half.
(AP photos)
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Gonzaga's Ronny Turiaf dunks over Cincinnati's Kyle Bankhead.
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Gonzaga's Winston Brooks (1) celebrates with teammates following their 74-69 win over Cincinnati.
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SALT LAKE CITY - No one is a more impassioned defender of University of Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins than Chuck Machock.

Machock, one of Huggins' closest friends, served as a volunteer coach during Huggins' first few years at UC and was Huggins' boss when Machock was the head coach at Central Florida.

They've known each other since Huggins played at West Virginia.

As the color commentator for UC's radio broadcasts on WLW-AM (700) for the past 10 years, Machock frequently has criticized officials both on the air and off from his seat along press row.

But Machock apparently crossed a line Thursday during UC's loss to Gonzaga in the first round of the West Regional at the Huntsman Center.

After Huggins was ejected from the game by official Mike Kitts, Machock also was asked to leave for comments he made to Kitts off the air. He was escorted out of the building.

"The official came to the (scorer's) table and asked that he be removed," tournament director Steve Pyne said. "He indicated there was some vulgar language directed at him."

Pyne then walked across the court and informed Machock that he would have to leave.

"He asked why," Pyne said. "I told him why, and he obviously denied it. We brought the official back to the table to make sure that's what he wanted to do, and he said he wanted to follow through with it."

Machock did not physically resist but did protest that he hadn't used profanity and sought the support of a nearby writer to verify that, which the reporter did.

But Machock still was asked to leave. Reached later at his hotel, Machock declined to give his side of the story.

"I want to talk to (UC athletics director) Bob Goin about the whole thing before I say anything," Machock said.

Goin was clearly unhappy with Machock's behavior.

"I'm more disturbed about that, quite frankly, than I am about the coach," Goin said. "I'm going to get the facts first. There will be no rush to judgment, but there will be a judgment."

Huggins said he didn't know the details of Machock's ejection. Told that the tournament director said Machock used vulgar language, Huggins said, "I can't believe Chuck used vulgar language."

Play-by-play man Dan Hoard, who has worked with Machock for the past two years, said he heard no profanity from Machock. Two reporters seated nearby said they heard Machock direct the term "S.O.B." at the official, and one observer said he heard Machock tell Kitts he was a terrible official.

"After Huggs got his technicals," Hoard said, "Chuck removed his headphones so that he couldn't be heard on the air and began yelling at Mike Kitts. He did not use any profanity but did say things along the lines of 'That was a terrible call.'

"Mike Kitts said, 'Keep it up and you're going to be watching the game from outside, too.' Then Mike Kitts went down to the baseline and Chuck kept it up a little bit. When there was a timeout called, Mike Kitts walked over to the official scorer's table and told security to kick Chuck out of the game."

Hoard acknowledged that this isn't the first time Machock has criticized officials from his seat on press row.

Directing such barbs at officials is considered unprofessional among media representatives, who are supposed to be unbiased observers.

It was within the official's purview to ask for Machock's removal.

"If in his judgment a person is exercising unsportsmanlike behavior, the official has the authority to have him removed," said Karl Benson of the NCAA Basketball Committee.



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• Nippert Stadium
• Radio: WLW-AM 700


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