Michigan's Howard suspended 5 games for melee after Wisconsin game
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan basketball coach Juwan Howard has been suspended the final five games of the regular season and fined $40,000 for hitting a Wisconsin assistant in the head, triggering a postgame melee.
The Big Ten Conference also on Monday suspended three players one game for the altercation following the Badgers' 77-63 win on Sunday: Michigan's Moussa Diabate and Terrance Williams II, and Jahcobi Neath of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin coach Greg Gard was fined $10,000 for violating the conference's sportsmanship policy, but was not suspended. Howard is expected to be back for the Big Ten tournament, which begins March 9 in Indianapolis.
"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," Howard said Monday in a statement released by the university. "I am truly sorry."
Phil Martelli will serve as Michigan's interim coach in Howard's absence. Michigan's final five regular-season games are home contests with Rutgers on Wednesday, No. 15 Illinois on Sunday, Michigan State on March 1 and No. 25 Iowa on March 3 plus a visit to No. 22 Ohio State on March 6.
"Big Ten Conference coaches and student-athletes are expected to display the highest level of sportsmanship conduct," Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. "I am grateful for the partnership with Michigan Athletics Director, Warde Manuel and Wisconsin Athletics Director, Chris McIntosh. Our expectation is that the incident yesterday will provide our coaches and student-athletes with the opportunity to reflect, learn and move forward in a manner that demonstrates decorum and leadership on and off of the court."
The altercation began in the postgame handshake line, when Gard grabbed Howard by the arm in an attempt to explain why he called a timeout with 15 seconds left and his team leading by 15 on Sunday. Howard yelled "Don't (expletive) touch me!" and put his right index finger in Gard's face as the two began to argue.
After the two coaches were separated, Howard swung his right hand and struck Wisconsin assistant Joe Krabbenhoft on the left side of the head with an open hand.