Thursday, September 29, 2005

Bob Huggins Roast

Take it down.

That’s what Kenyon Martin wants done with his retired jersey that hangs from the rafters at Fifth Third Arena on the University of Cincinnati campus.

Martin, who was the national player of the year at UC in 1999-2000, made the statement Thursday night at the Bob Huggins Roast & Toast at U.S. Bank Arena.

“Take my jersey down,” Martin told the crowd gathered to support Huggins who was ousted as UC’s head men’s basketball coach in August. “If he’s not affiliated with the university, I don’t want to be.”

Aside from Martin’s controversial stance, which he took multiple times off stage before the event began, the Roast & Toast went by smoothly, with several coaches taking most of their jabs at Huggins and a few at UC president Nancy Zimpher.

“People say Bob is two-faced,” said Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz, who coached against Huggins in Conference USA. “Can’t be. If you had two faces, is that the face you would show?”

Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser had planned to attend but changed his plans before the event.

“Skip Prosser was invited, but he wants Bob’s job,” said emcee Bill Cunningham. “So he didn’t show up.”

Later, Huggins said, “I deeply regret that Skip Prosser is not here and Bill Cunningham is. He’s got all the charisma of a speed bump.”

Huggins, who coached at UC for 16 years, had 32 of his former players in attendance.

One of them, Danny Fortson, took a similar tone as Martin, saying, “This is emotional, right now. This shouldn’t happen. This is a great man.”

Fortson didn’t go as far as Martin, however, demanding that his records and accomplishments be stricken from the UC records.
Before the event, Martin said there is nothing UC can do, aside from rehiring Huggins, to get him to change his mind.

Huggins former assistant and current UC head coach Andy Kennedy, joking that his presence at the event might raise the ire of his current employer, told the crowd, “If it ever comes up, you haven’t seen me.”

Other speakers included Louisville coach Rick Pitino, Kentucky coach Tubby Smith and Memphis coach John Calipari.

Smith, whose Wildcats defeated Huggins in the NCAA Tournament last season, recalled that Huggins had wanted to play Kentucky during the regular season.

“Sometimes,” Smith told him, “You better be careful what you wish for.”


At 3:26 PM, Blogger jay.c.b. said...

it's a better article than the one you copied and posted.


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