Cincinnati tabs Huggins assistant as interim hoops coach
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) – The University of Cincinnati has named Andy
Kennedy as the interim men’s basketball coach to replace the ousted Bob
Huggins and the university mutually agreed to terms of a contract buyout on
Wednesday, ending the coach’s 16-year tenure with the Bearcats.
Kennedy had been a member of Huggins’ staff the past four years. He was named
an assistant coach in 2001 and was elevated to associate head coach last year.
“I am very grateful for this opportunity afforded to me by [UC] President
[Nancy] Zimpher through [athletic director] Bob Goin with the blessings and
support of my friend and mentor, Bob Huggins,” Kennedy said at a press
“I am here, as most people are, because of Bob Huggins,” Kennedy added. “I
never in a million years dreamed I would be sitting here under these
circumstances, but it is what it is. We all must attempt to move forward.”
This will be Kennedy’s first head coaching position. He began his career as an
assistant at South Alabama in 1994, then spent five years as an assistant at
UAB — his alma mater — before joining Cincinnati.
“Coach (Huggins) and I are really close and he understands the situation for
himself and the position it has put me and the players in,” Kennedy remarked.
“He takes great pride, as we all do, as to what he has built here over the
past 16 years. He takes great pride in seeing that go forward, especially with
this group that are all here because of him.”
Details of the settlement between Huggins and the university have not yet been
finalized, but Huggins, who had two years remaining on his contract, will
receive approximately $3 million.
On Tuesday, Huggins was given a choice to either accept the buyout, take a
position outside the athletic department through March 31, 2008 or be fired.
As part of the agreement, Huggins will remain with the school for three months
to help the transition period for Kennedy.
“We have great confidence in Andy and that he will manage and run the program
at a high level during this interim period,” stated Goin on Friday. “Andy has
a good feel for our program and our student-athletes and he will be given the
same authority that a head coach would have in this situation.”
The Bearcats will not name a full-time head coach until after Goin steps aside
on January 1 and a new athletic director is selected.
“The decision for me to step aside, effective January 1, will permit the
university to identify and select the next director of athletics, and then let
that person evaluate the program during the season before conducting a
national search. I would assume Andy will get serious consideration during
that process,” Goin continued.
Huggins had a 399-127 record in 16 seasons at Cincinnati. His teams also made
14 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, reaching the Final Four in 1992. Last
spring, the Bearcats were knocked out of the tournament in the second round by
Cincinnati is set to start play in the Big East Conference this fall.