Michigan Head Coach Juwan Howard’s Suspension Reaction
Michigan’s head coach Juwan Howard has been suspended for the remainder of the regular season and fined $40,000 for his role in a physical altercation between the Wolverines and Wisconsin on Sunday.
During the altercation, Howard was involved in a verbal dispute with Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard that escalated into Howard striking Wisconsin assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft in the face. This led to players getting involved and security needing to step in and break up the fight.
Gard called timeout with 15 seconds left in a 77-63 win for the Badgers on Sunday. This bothered Howard and led to the altercation in the handshake line after the game.
Gard stated he used the timeout to reset the 10-second count in the backcourt, giving his backups more time to break Michigan’s full court press. Gard grabbed Howard’s arm to explain the timeout to him in the line, which offended the Michigan coach.
After the game, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel apologized to Wisconsin athletic director Chris McIntosh, as well as Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman apologizing to Badgers’ chancellor Rebecca Blank.
The Big Ten reviewed the fight, and released their punishments on Monday. Along with Howard’s suspension and fine, the Big Ten also fined Gard $10,000 for being in violation of the Big Ten’s sportsmanship policy.
The conference announced they have suspended three players as well for their roles in the altercation. Michigan’s Terrance Williams III and Moussa Diabate and Wisconsin’s Jahcobi Neath were all suspended for one game.
Michigan is sitting on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament and desperately needs a strong finish to clinch a spot. Michigan will now be led by assistant coach Phil Martelli, who was the head coach at Saint Joseph’s for 24 years.
Martelli faces a tough end of the season, filling in for Howard as well as being without two key pieces in Diabate and Williams III. They do get four of their last five games at home, but they are all against tough opponents who are projected to make the NCAA Tournament.
For Howard, this was a bad look for him as this is not the first altercation he has had with another coach. Howard needed to be restrained by his assistants during the Big Ten Tournament last season after getting in a verbal dispute with Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon.
Howard has been criticized for this behavior by many media members and fans, some believing this incident in Madison was worthy of him being fired from his position at Michigan. Howard kept his job, and will have to be on his best behavior in the future to regain a positive public image.
On the Wisconsin side, the Badgers are still in the hunt for a Big Ten title. Led by star player Johnny Davis and other veterans, they need to avoid allowing this incident to be a distraction in the near future.
Wisconsin has back-to-back road games against Minnesota and Rutgers, and have two home games to finish out the year. The Badgers are only half a game back from first place in the Big Ten, and a strong finish could lead to a regular season title.
This altercation put both schools into a lot of media publicity for all of the wrong reasons. Both teams now hope to move forward, and finish this year strong with no more setbacks on their paths to the postseason.
Adam Sheetz is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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