CINCINNATI -- Bob Huggins was ordered Tuesday to resign or
he'll be fired as Cincinnati's basketball coach, culminating 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. If he doesn't respond by 2 p.m. Wednesday, he will be
fired, the letter said.
ESPN.com's Andy Katz reported that Huggins was informed while working as a coach at the Michael Jordan Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas. He is expected to meet with university officials Wednesday.
Met by reporters shortly after landing in Cincinnati, Huggins says he has not been notified of the university's actions.
"I don't know what to tell you, other than I don't know anything," he said.
The 51-year-old coach was traveling and had not seen the letter,
lawyer Richard Katz said.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, associate head coach Andy Kennedy will be asked to replace Huggins in the interim.
Huggins has won more games than any other coach at Cincinnati,
but his tenure also has been marked by player arrests 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 last before
Cincinnati moved into the Big East.
The school declined to invoke a roll-over provision in his
contract that would have left Huggins with four years on his deal,
making it easier to recruit players. Katz has tried unsuccessfully
to get the contract extended.
"We've been discussing with them for the last six or eight
weeks an extension of the contract," Katz said. "It appeared he
wasn't going to be able to fulfill the remaining two years of the
contract because he couldn't recruit, he was running into obstacles
at the university. It would not have been appropriate for that to
The letter faxed to Katz on Tuesday was signed by the school's
legal counsel, Zimpher, athletic director Bob Goin and the chairman
of the board of trustees. Through the school, they declined to
The letter offered to keep Huggins in some other job
until 2008, paying him $2.77 million over that time. He could have
no hand in the basketball program.
If Huggins declines the offer, he will be fired, the letter
"I think we would both agree that these negotiations have gone
on far too long," the letter said. "Mr. Huggins has clearly
expressed, through you, his desire to move in another direction."
The letter also highlighted the deepening rift between Huggins
and the school administration.
Zimpher notified Huggins last May that he would not get his
contract automatically extended, as provided for in the deal. He
was given the option of leaving or continuing to coach on the
He held a news conference to announce he was staying rather than
informing the administration privately, a move that evidently drove
the wedge deeper. The ultimatum sent on Tuesday referred to the May
news conference, noting the university had to issue a statement
"in light of the fact that coach Huggins chose to deal with
contract issues through the media."
Huggins went 399-127 in 16 seasons at Cincinnati, rebuilding it
into a nationally prominent program after years in disarray. His
teams made 14 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament, and
reached the Final Four in 1992.
The program also had a history of player arrests and
infractions. The program went on two years' probation in 1998 after
the NCAA concluded there was a lack of institutional control.
The relationship between Huggins and Zimpher was strained after
he was arrested in June 2004 for drunken driving. The police
videotape of Huggins staggering during his field sobriety test was
Huggins pleaded no contest to driving under the influence,
attended a three-day intervention program, and was suspended
without pay by the university for two months.
The Bearcats failed to win a league title in their final season
in Conference USA, and lost in the second round of the NCAA
Tournament. The program's problems multiplied after the season,
when freshman Roy Bright was dismissed from the team because he had
a gun on campus.
Assistant coach Keith LeGree also was arrested and charged with
drunken driving, but was acquitted during a trial. He was
reinstated as an assistant coach last month.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.