Michigan's Juwan Howard Apologizes for Hitting Wisconsin Coach in Face: 'Will Never Happen Again'

Juwan Howard was suspended and fined after the incident with Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard and assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft

Juwan Howard
Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty

Former NBA player and Michigan men's basketball head coach Juwan Howard has apologized after he got into a heated encounter with Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard and assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft over the weekend.

Howard, who was famously part of Michigan's famed "Fab Five" basketball team of the early 1990s, hit Krabbenhoft in the face following Wisconsin's 77-63 home win on Sunday. The incident sparked a physical altercation between the two teams, with multiple players throwing punches amid the chaos.

A video of the fight published by CBS Sports shows Gard grabbing Howard on the arm as Howard tried to walk by him after the game. Howard appeared to grab Gard's shirt in the chest area, and a shouting match ensued before the two were surrounded by players and staff. Howard then hit Krabbenhoft in the face before he was separated from the group.

Howard, 49, received a $40,000 fine for his part in the incident and a five-game suspension, the Big Ten Conference announced this week. The suspension means Howard will not be able to coach a game again for the rest of the regular season.

"After taking time to reflect on all that happened, I realize how unacceptable both my actions and words were, and how they affected so many. I am truly sorry," Howard said in a statement released by Michigan on Monday. "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," he added. "No excuses!"

Michigan v Wisconsin
Wisconsin Badgers Assistant Coach Joe Krabbenhoft reacts after a fight breaks out between Wisconsin Badgers and Michigan Wolverines. John Fisher/Getty Images

Along with Howard, Michigan sophomore Terrance Williams II and freshman Moussa Diabate were suspended for one game each for their involvement.

"Today's disciplinary actions underscore the seriousness with which we take the incident that unfolded on Sunday," Michigan's Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics, Warde Manuel, said in a statement.

"Simply put, there is no room at U-M for the behavior we saw. We will learn from this incident as a department, work to improve ourselves while operating under a spotlight, and move forward in a positive light," he continued.

Chris McIntosh, Wisconsin's director of athletics, maintained his belief that head coach Gard did not provoke the fight. The university was fined $10,000 after the incident.

"Needless to say, there is no place in college athletics for what happened at the end of Sunday's game," McIntosh said in a statement. "Neither Coach Gard nor his staff had any intent to provoke or incite any of what took place. I want to commend those on our staff — and student-athletes — who were trying to de-escalate the situation."

He concluded: "Our staff has my complete support, as do our student-athletes. I consider the $10,000 fine from the Big Ten to be a 'Wisconsin fine' and not a 'Greg Gard fine.' Wisconsin Athletics will assume the responsibility for paying the fine."

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