West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins apologized Monday after using a homophobic slur to refer to Xavier’s fans while denigrating Catholics during a radio interview.

The West Virginia athletic department called Huggins’ comments «offensive» and said it was reviewing the matter.

During a call to Cincinnati radio station WLW, Huggins, a longtime former Cincinnati coach, was asked about the transfer portal and whether he had the possibility of signing a player from Xavier, a Jesuit school and rival to the other. Bearcats side of town.

“Catholics don’t do that,” Huggins said. “I’ll tell you what, any school that can throw rubber penises on the ground and then say they didn’t, by God they can get away with it.

“It was the Crosstown Shootout. What it was, it was all those (expletive), those Catholics (expletive), I think.»

Later Monday, Huggins released a statement saying that he “used a completely insensitive and abhorrent phrase for which there is simply no excuse, and I won’t attempt to make one here. I deeply apologize to those I have offended, as well as to the community of Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, and West Virginia University.

“As I have shared with my players during my 40 years as a coach, there are consequences for our words and actions, and I will fully accept whatever comes my way. I am ashamed, embarrassed and heartbroken for those I have hurt. I must do better, and I will.»

In a separate statement, the West Virginia athletic department said Huggins’ comments “were insensitive, offensive and do not represent our university values. Since then, Coach Huggins has apologized. 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.»

Huggins spent 16 seasons in Cincinnati before being fired in 2005 in a power struggle with the school president, as well as the fallout from a 2004 drunk driving arrest. After spending one season at Kansas State, Huggins took the job. of his dreams in West Virginia, his alma mater, in 2007.

Huggins was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last year.