The University of Cincinnati's Bob Huggins and Xavier's Pete Gillen, two high-profile coaches running high-profile programs, have never been terribly simpatico. But on Saturday night at Cincinnati Gardens, after Xavier defeated the Bearcats 82-76 in overtime in an annual showdown known locally as the Cross-town Shootout, the enmity between the two men exploded.
Gillen strode toward the Cincinnati bench for the perfunctory postgame handshake with Huggins but received instead a blistering tirade. Huggins said he was upset with remarks and gestures that Xavier assistant coaches had made as the game ended. (The assistant coaches say they made no improper remarks or gestures.) "Don't come over and shake hands like everything's all right," Huggins told Gillen. "Everything's not all right. I'm not a phony."
"It's not being phony, shaking hands after games," countered Gillen, who stormed across the floor swearing as Huggins walked away.
Even before this year's Cross-town Shootout, the two coaches had expressed reservations about facing each other because of the rivalry's intense heat. But what were they worried about? Certainly not the players, whose conduct, except for a modicum of trash talking, was exemplary. Perhaps Huggins and Gillen were simply worried—and with good reason—about their own self-control.
There is talk, some of it from Gillen, about putting the series on hold. What Huggins and Gillen should work on, however, is maintaining the rivalry and putting their contentious attitude toward each other on hold.
Eight-hundred parents camped out overnight last week to make sure their kids got one of the coveted spots in the eastern section of the Cobb County (Ga.) Little League. County officials tried to discourage them by locking the gates to the park, where registration would take place, but the stouthearted parents simply set up tents outside the gate.
Reports that three Grateful Dead fans signed up were unfounded.
With the thunder still echoing from the Jan. 17 grudge match in Chicago between aging former child stars Danny Bonaduce and Donny Osmond, we asked SI boxing writer Pat Putnam, who has covered more than 200 title fights, to analyze the action.