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Archive for Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cincinnati’s Huggins told to resign

Letter warns coach he’ll be fired if he fails to step down

August 24, 2005

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— Bob Huggins was ordered Tuesday to resign as Cincinnati's basketball coach or he'll be fired, the culmination of a power struggle with the school president.

In a letter faxed to his lawyer by the university, Huggins was given 24 hours to resign and accept a financial compensation package worth almost $3 million. If he doesn't respond by 2 p.m. today, he would be fired, the letter said.

The 51-year-old coach was traveling and had not seen the letter, lawyer Richard Katz said.

Athletic director Bob Goin, one of Huggins' most loyal supporters over the years, said he backed the decision.

"It's time for the university to move on," Goin said. "We've reached an impasse."

Huggins has won more games than any other coach at Cincinnati, but his tenure also has been marked by player arrests, poor graduation rates and NCAA rules violations that landed the school on probation.

His arrest for drunken driving last year upset new school president Nancy Zimpher. Huggins was placed on unpaid leave over the summer, but returned and coached last season, the Bearcats' last before moving into the Big East.

"Character counts," Zimpher said emphatically. "Our coaches must be exemplary role models on the court and off."

By dumping their head coach less than two months before the start of practice, the school put itself at a major disadvantage heading into one of the nation's toughest basketball conferences.

Cincinnati will have an interim coach in the inaugural season and a mark on its reputation that could chase away recruits. Goin wanted to take a few days before picking an interim coach.

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