Juwan Howard throws punch at Wisconsin assistant
Michigan basketball head coach Juwan Howard threw a punch at an assistant coach after their loss against Wisconsin, causing a scuffle to break out.
Things got physical during an altercation that occurred in the postgame handshakes at a college basketball game between Michigan and Wisconsin. Michigan's head coach Juwan Howard threw a punch and hit a Wisconsin assistant coach in the face after his team lost 77-63 to the Badgers.
From timeout to a slap in the face
When the game ended, Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard could be seen saying something to Howard and then pulling him away from the next person in the handshake line, preventing him moving forward.
That started an argument between the two as they're seen yelling at each other until they were finally separated, but then Wisconsin assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft started to shout at Howard, which instigated things further. Howard then threw a punch, slapping Krabbenhoft in the face and starting a fight amongst the players and staff as well.
So what caused all this commotion? Howard explained in the postgame conference that he was upset about a timeout that Wisconsin called with seconds left in the game. Wisconsin was already up by 14 points and the timeout gave them an extra ten seconds on the clock.
"Apparently, he didn't like that I called a timeout to reset the 10-second call because we only had four seconds to get the ball over halfcourt," Gard said. "And I didn't want to put my backups, I had all my bench guys in the game, I didn't want to put them in that position of scrambling with only four seconds.
When going through the handshake line, Howard said that he mentioned his disdain for that call and that it was Gard's touching him that escalated matters.
"Basically, I addressed with the head coach that I would remember that because of that timeout. For someone to touch me, I think that was very uncalled for him to touch me as we were verbalizing and communicating with one another. So that's what ended up happening, that's what escalated it."
Both coaches played a part in this altercation, as Gard instigated things by pulling Howard away, but it was Howard who threw a punch.
"There is no excuse for any of our staff or student-athletes to get into a physical altercation with others regardless of instigating factors," said University of Michigan athletic director, Warde Manuel. "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."
Howard's history of anger and the consequences to follow
This was not the first time Juwan Howard has reacted in such a way. In 2021, during a Big Ten conference tournament, he had to be separated from Maryland's head coach Mark Turgeon when Howard claimed that Turgeon charged at him. Howard was ejected from the game, but not suspended.
This time around, it's possible he could be suspended for at least two games and fined up to $10,000. Michigan or the Big Ten Group Executive Committee could decide to enact further penalties. The Big ten will review the videos, conduct interviews with the people involved, and decide what exactly to do. Michigan has just five regular-season games left, so it could be possible he's suspended for the rest of the season or maybe even the postseason as well.
Manuel called his counterpart at the University of Wisconsin to apologize, calling the whole thing "totally unacceptable behavior".
Howard did apologize to his team and take responsibility for his actions. "I’m always going to take ownership when I’m wrong and admit when I’m wrong," he said. "That’s not the right way how to handle that situation.” He did not, however, apologize to Gard or to anyone else, nor did Gard apologize for his actions and part in the scuffle.