CINCINNATI - Bob Huggins tearfully thanked fans for their 16 years of support Thursday, while lawyers for the ousted coach and the University of Cincinnati failed to finish the details of his $3 million contract buyout.
Huggins agreed to step down on Wednesday, a day after the school warned he would be fired if he didn’t resign. He agreed in principle to a $3 million buyout for the rest of his contract, with details to be worked out.
“We’re still talking about the (buyout) language,” said Richard Katz, the coach’s lawyer.
Katz said he and the university’s lawyer have other obligations and probably won’t complete the deal until next week.
The sides are discussing when he will leave and how much he will get. The school is willing to let him stay in an advisory role for three months, easing the transition to an interim coach.
Huggins led Cincinnati to No. 1 rankings, a Final Four and 14 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances during his 16 seasons at Cincinnati. The Bearcats also had numerous player arrests and violations during his tenure, earning an NCAA probation.
Huggins appeared at a supportive rally organized by a local radio personality on Thursday night, telling fans they were like family to him.
“I just wanted to stop by and say thanks, it was 16 wonderful years,” Huggins told the crowd, pausing between sentences to collect his thoughts and his composure. “Give me a minute here. Honestly, I don’t know what to say, but thanks. It’s been 16 great years.”
The two sides have clashed over a contract extension since May, setting the stage for his forced departure.
At the rally held at a sports cafe, Huggins recalled some of the Bearcats’ most successful seasons.
“But more important than that, the way our guys have turned out, the way they’ve represented this city, the way they’ve represented me, the way they’ve represent you — I’m extremely proud and certainly forever indebted to them,” Huggins said. “Thanks.”
The university was accepted into the Big East largely because of the basketball program’s success. The team will have to slog through its inaugural season with an interim coach — Huggins’ successor won’t be picked until next year — and no chance to land top recruits.
The school is expected to announce on Friday that Huggins’ top assistant, Andy Kennedy, will be the interim coach.
CBT: Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made it official that he'll be coaching Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and he'll also be with Duke at least that long, too.
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