Enquirer News Update   -   Updated 6:40 p.m.

UC coach Bob Huggins suspended



By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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 Video icon Raw video of Huggins' Friday news conference

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University of Cincinnati basketball coach Bob Huggins was placed on indefinite suspension with pay this morning by athletic director Bob Goin following Huggins' arrest Tuesday night on a drunken-driving charge.

Saying that he believes in second chances, Goin placed Huggins on "mandatory suspension, completely away from the demands of his job."

"This will permit him the opportunity to reflect, re-energize and update his life priorities," Goin said in a statement he read at a news conference held on campus at the Edwards Center.

"It will also let him address any personal matters which he has ignored. If he will accept this in the good faith in which it is intended and with the support of his family and all who love him, it is my desire that Bobby will return fresh and better conditioned to resume the demands of a job which he loves so dearly.

"Many of you have credited me with keeping Bobby here as the basketball coach. I believe with every fiber of my being that this action is what will keep Bobby as your coach for many years to come."

Goin said he reached the decision in consultation with UC president Dr. Nancy Zimpher.

Huggins, 50, arrived at the news conference about 10 minutes before its 10 a.m. start. He said he would "do everything in my power to meet whatever conditions I'm asked to do by my superiors."

He did not take questions.

The UC coach, who just completed his 15th season at the school, was greeted at the news conference by Corie Blount and Tarrance Gibson, both of whom played on Huggins' 1992 Final Four team and had shown up to lend support. He hugged each player before and after the news conference.

"I don't have any excuses or any alibis," Huggins said. "I said last night I totally accept that I made a mistake. My wish and my hope is that I can complete and do what it is that's asked of me so that I can go back and be with my players."

Under the terms of Huggins' contract, he could have been fired for his transgression, but Goin said he never considered terminating him.

The UC athletic director said he and Huggins would meet to formulate a process for Huggins to follow that would likely involve professional help. He said there is no timetable for Huggins' return and declined to speculate on whether Huggins would return in time for the start of basketball practice in October.

"I can't say that," Goin said. "I'm not going to say 60 days, 90 days, one year. When I feel comfortable that he's ready to resume his responsibility, then I'll make that recommendation."

Goin did not say who would run the program in Huggins' absence, but the likely choice is assistant head coach Dan Peters, who has been part of the UC program for the past five years and was the head coach at Youngstown State from 1993-1999.

E-mail: bkoch@enquirer.com