US NCAA: Michigan coach Juwan Howard suspended five games for hitting rival assistant

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 22 2022 10:06 AM

Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard directs his team during the game with the Wisconsin Badgers at the Kohl Center. Mary Langenfeld, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.
Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard directs his team during the game with the Wisconsin Badgers at the Kohl Center. Mary Langenfeld, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.

LOS ANGELES -- Former NBA player Juwan Howard, now the University of Michigan coach, has been suspended the rest of the college basketball season for striking an opposing coach after a defeat.

The Big Ten conference, in which Michigan and the University of Wisconsin play, announced the punishment on Monday, saying it was reached in consultation with both universities.

"It has been determined that there was a clear violation of the Big Ten Conference's Sportsmanship Policy by Michigan Men's Basketball Head Coach Juwan Howard," the Big Ten said in a statement.

Howard, who was fined $40,000, will be suspended for the remaining five games of the regular season. He will be eligible to return for the Big Ten conference post-season tournament, which starts on March 9 in Indianapolis.

Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard was fined $10,000 but not suspended over the incident, in which Howard ended up hitting Wisconsin assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft with his open hand.

In other punishments meted out over the incident after Sunday's game, Michigan players Moussa Diabate and Terrance Williams II and Wisconsin's Jahcobi Neath will be suspended for one game each for throwing punches.

When Howard and Gard met in the post-game handshake line, Howard let Gard know he disapproved of a timeout taken by Wisconsin with 15 seconds left in their 77-63 victory.

Howard later said he thought the timeout was "not necessary at the moment, especially being a large lead."

In trying to explain his reasoning on the timeout, Gard grabbed Howard's arm -- something else Howard took exception to.

"At that point, I thought it was time to protect myself," he said. The fracas escalated and Howard struck Krabbenhoft in the face.

"Big Ten Conference coaches and student-athletes are expected to display the highest level of sportsmanship conduct," conference commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement, adding he was "grateful" for the partnership with the athletic directors of both universities in determining the appropriate punishments.

Howard played in the NBA from 1994 to 2013 after the Washington Bullets -- now the Wizards -- made him the fifth overall pick in the 1994 draft. He is a two-time NBA champion having won the title in 2012 and 2013 with the Miami Heat.

He retired as a player in 2013 and was named head coach of Michigan in 2019.

© Agence France-Presse