The Slap heard across the country.
In what has been a ho-hum college basketball season that has drawn no interest or headlines that have grabbed the attention of the sports watching public, a fracas in a Big 10 conference game has us captivated. Despite this being Coach K’s last season at Duke, no one was really paying attention to college basketball, as a diversity law suit in the NFL, a terrible pro bowl, NBA trades, the Super Bowl, and the Winter Olympics have us ignoring college round ball.
On Sunday in Madison, Wisconsin, in a game that was nothing to write home about, down the stretch, the Badgers had built a big lead, and Michigan until near the end was running a full court press. To get around the press, Greg Garb the Coach from Wisconsin called a time out near the end of the game.
Michigan Coach Juwan Howard took offense to the last second time out and thought it was unnecessary since the game was clearly out of hand. And the time out was rubbing it in, and extending the game longer than it needed to be.
In the customary end of game ritual known in sports as “the handshake line” Coach Garb wanted to explain himself on why he took the time out, and grabbed Coach Howard. Coach Juwan Howard did not care for being grabbed and put his finger in Coach Garb’s face saying “he would remember that”, in reference to the time out.
He also expressed not liking being touched. This confrontation caused both teams’ benches to get excited and a big scrum ensued.
Teams were scrambling and pushing and shoving with coaches and referees trying to break up the fracas. Coach Howard after being on the outside of the scrum, reached back into fray and slapped a Wisconsin Badger an assistant coach.
Between the Big 10 Conference and Michigan’s Athletic director, it was decided to suspend Coach Howard for the rest of the regular season. There was a confrontation last season between Coach Howard and Maryland’s former coach Mark Turgeon at the Big 10 tournament.
In the bigger picture this is Coach Howard’s second incident with a Coach, the first went unpunished, so there had to be a message sent.
The Michigan Wolverines basketball team is a bubble team in terms of getting to the NCAA tournament. So the end of the regular season could be the end of the season period for the Maze and Blue.
This was Coach Howard’s apology after taking time to reflect. “After taking time to reflect on all that happened, I realized how unacceptable both my actions and words were, and how they were affected so many, I am truly sorry. I am offering my sincerest apology to my players, and their families, my staff , my family and the Michigan fans around the world.
I would like to personally apologize to Wisconsin’s Assistant Coach Joe Krabbenhoft and his family, too. Lastly, I speak a lot about being a Michigan Man, and representing the University of Michigan with class and pride.
I did not do that, nor did I set the right example in the right way for my student-athletes. I will learn from my mistake, and this mistake will never happen again. No excuses.”