Juwan Howard will be looking at a suspension — or worse.
The Michigan coach got physical after his team’s 77-63 loss at No. 15 Wisconsin on Sunday, upset with a late timeout taken by his adversary, Greg Gard. Howard raised his arm during a scuffle, looking as if he was trying to grab Gard’s face. Howard ended up slapping one of Wisconsin’s assistants.
The two head coaches exchanged words in the handshake line, and it appeared to get heated. They were separated by a number of players and coaches, but then Howard got back into the fray, leading to a mini-brawl and punches thrown by multiple players.
Howard, 49, confirmed during his postgame press conference that he did not like Wisconsin’s late timeout and said someone touched him before he got physical.
“Well basically, I addressed with the head coach that I will remember that, because of that timeout. For someone to touch me, I think that was very uncalled for, for him to touch me as we were verbalizing and communicating with one another,” Howard told reporters. “So that’s what ended up happening. That’s what escalated it.”
Gard gave his version of events, explaining why he took the timeout.
“Well, apparently he didn’t like that I called a timeout to reset the 10-second call — because we only had four seconds to get the ball over half-court,” Gard told CBS after the fight. “I didn’t want to put my backups — I had all my bench guys in the game — I didn’t want to put them in that position of scrambling with only four seconds (left.) So I took a timeout. That got us a new 10 seconds, and helped them get organized to get the ball in. He did not like that when he came through the handshake line. So, I’ll leave it at that and the tape will show the rest.”
Wade Manuel, Michigan’s athletic director, released a statement saying the university’s punishment of Howard could go beyond what the Big Ten levies on him.
“There is no excuse for any our staff or student-athletes to get into a physical altercation with others regardless of instigating factors,” Manuel said. “I reached out and apologized to Chris McIntosh and president Coleman has reached out to UW chancellor Blank to apologize for the totally unacceptable behavior. We will review the situation more thoroughly and work with the Big Ten conference as they determine their disciplinary actions and will determine if any further disciplinary actions are needed.”
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