Bob Huggins agreed yesterday to step down as Cincinnati's basketball coach, ousted by a school president determined to change the program's image.

One day after Huggins was given a choice of resigning or being fired, he agreed in principle to take a $3 million buyout of his contract.

"We are working on the details of the agreement, which may or may not be finalized in the next 24 hours," said Richard Katz, the coach's attorney.

The university's latest offer includes a chance to stay for three more months, giving advice on basketball recruits and related matters.

Huggins left Katz's office without commenting, dressed in a black Cincinnati jacket, when no deal was reached yesterday.

The university sent Katz a letter earlier in the day outlining the $3 million buyout. The letter, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, offered Huggins $110,000 per month for the next three months to ease the coaching transition.

An interim coach has not been chosen. The school doesn't anticipate hiring a permanent replacement until after the 2005-06 season, its first in the Big East. The school will have a difficult time attracting recruits in the meantime.

The volcanic coach who won more games than anyone in Cincinnati history was forced out by an academically minded school president, Nancy Zimpher, who didn't like Huggins's history or philosophy.

"It could happen to anyone when you get hired by a different president," Louisville Coach Rick Pitino said.

-- From News Services