Dickie V. is hardly alone in making excuses for deposed Cincy hoops coach Bob Huggins. Nick Lachey (above), presumably too shocked by Huggins’ dismissal to write another column about Danny Graves’ raw deal, takes on University of Cincinnati President Nancy Zimpher. Notes Rance Piatt, “Not only did Mr. Simpson decide to hit Sweden to record a new (!) record,but the dude knows about COBRA insurance.”

From the Cincinnati Enquirer :

What is happening at the University of Cincinnati? Is the city so paralyzed that they think they can get away with this?

This is one of the most successful coaches in all of college basketball, right there in our own little town. He has led our Bearcat program back from the dead, to the tune of 14 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. He was just voted Conference USA Coach of the Decade. He just led our entire athletic department to a major national athletic conference.

Do we reward him, extend his contract, give him a bonus for a job well done? No. We kindly, or not so kindly, ask him to leave all he™s accomplished as well as those he™s accomplished it with, and accept our generous parting gift. A buyout with a healthy dose of Cobra health insurance. Are you kidding me? This is an outrage.

The speculation that this could happen was enough to give me ulcers, but this is ridiculous. I counted on the sensibility and rationale of people in power to avoid this end, but I guess I was foolish in my faith. Apparently, Dr. Zimpher has distributed the Kool-Aid to others.

What are the grounds for his dismissal? I™ve seen the University try and blame everything on Huggins™dissatisfaction for his contract situation. Well, of course he was dissatisfied. Have you ever tried to recruit a high school All-American with two years left on your contract?

Who in their right mind would come play for you for four years if they weren™t assured that you were going to be their coach for their junior and senior years?

In addition, what bearing does the basketball program have on the rest of the university™s academics? Does Bob Huggins prevent the physics department from winning the Nobel Prize, or someone in the English Department from winning the Pulitzer? No! He does his job and everyone else at the university should do theirs.

What else can we pin on him? A DUI? This happened over a year ago and has been met by Huggins with shame and humility. If you were going to fire him for this, why not do it a year ago, before he led your university to yet another NCAA Tournament? Why wait for over a year? If it™s about the DUI, I suggest we offer George W. Bush a buyout as well! The Roy Bright thing? Give me a break. Ask any coach if they would recruit a four-year player out of Oak Hill Acadamy and the answer would be yes.

Bright, for those with short memories, was kicked off the team last May for bringing a firearm onto campus. Along with Huggins’ 399-127 record, the coach’s tenure featured two years of NCAA probation. Other notable student-athletes who have prospered Huggins’ recent guidance include Erick Murray (charged with assault) and Tyree Evans (charged with statutory rape).

But I do like the idea of offering W. a buyout.