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Michigan coach Juwan Howard is suspended for the rest of season

Michigan head coach Juwan Howard during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wisconsin Sunday in Madison, Wis.
Andy Manis
/
AP
Michigan head coach Juwan Howard during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wisconsin Sunday in Madison, Wis.

The handshakes quickly turned to punches.

After Wisconsin beat Michigan on Sunday in a Big Ten Conference basketball game, members of both teams fought after Michigan head coach Juwan Howard slapped Wisconsin assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft in the head. Howard explained after the melee that he was upset Wisconsin had called a timeout with a few seconds left in the game when Wisconsin was already up 14 points.

University of Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel issued a statement after the incident.

"There is no excuse for any of our staff or student-athletes to get into a physical altercation with others regardless of instigating factors," he said. "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."

Manuel said he called his counterpart at the University of Wisconsin, as did University of Michigan interim president Mary Sue Coleman, to apologize "for the totally unacceptable behavior."

As the teams lined up to shake hands after the game, Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard grabbed Howard's arm and appeared to try to talk with him. In a postgame press conference, Gard said he tried to explain to Howard why he called the timeout.

"He came up to me and pulled his mask down and said, 'I'll remember that,' and he started pointing at me and tapping me in the chest," Gard said.

Howard disputed Gard's retelling, saying it was unnecessary for Gard to touch him.

"It wasn't called for that, when we're talking," he said. "At that point, you know, at that point, I thought it was time to protect myself."

During the confrontation, players and coaches from both teams crowded around the men. As things heated up, Howard swung, hitting Krabbenhoft.

Howard was a star member of Michigan's "Fab Five" in the early 1990s. He, along with Chris Webber and Jalen Rose, helped popularize baggy shorts and black Nike socks in basketball. They're the subject of a documentary that explored their impact on the sport, as well as the investigation into illegal payments to players. The teams failed to win a national championship, but several, including Howard, went on to successful NBA careers. He won two NBA championships with the Miami Heat.

The Big Ten Conference issued a statement saying it will review the altercation and would take "swift and appropriate disciplinary action" when it completes its investigation.

Editor's note: The University of Michigan holds Michigan Radio's license.
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Peter Granitz