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Charleston players 'forgive' fired coach Wojcik

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - College of Charleston basketball players say they agreed with the dismissal of men's coach Doug Wojcik after allegations of verbal abuse and they ''forgive'' him.

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The school released a statement Wednesday saying it was from the members of the Cougars men's basketball team this season. Wojcik was fired by school President Glenn McConnell on Tuesday for cause.

Wojcik, 50, has apologized to those he hurt emotionally or offended.

A 50-page report done by the school contained summaries of interviews with Wojcik and 26 others - including 10 anonymous players and five anonymous employees - who are current and former players and assistant coaches, college staffers and athletic director Joe Hull. The report found it likely Wojcik used degrading and threatening language when talking with players and others at the school.

Wojcik said in the report he was shocked by the allegations and has not had players complain about his treatment.

The players' statement said while the past few weeks were difficult, they feel they are closer as a team. The players said they would not comment individually about Wojcik.

''We completely and wholeheartedly concur with the findings of the investigation and the actions that President McConnell has taken in this manner,'' the players' statement said.

McConnell also said Tuesday in his statement the school would not discuss personnel matters.

Wojcik's attorney Scott Tompsett did not immediately return messages left by The Associated Press. He had said in a statement the school became so desperate to fire the coach, it had basketball players sign sworn affidavits which he believes contain ''materially false statements.''

Tompsett said there are examples of the school's attempt to make a case against Wojcik.

''They will come out at the appropriate time,'' he said.

Tompsett said he and Wojcik had reached out several times to the school to settle the matter amicably.

''That means a reasonable settlement of the amount owed under Coach Wojcik's contract in return for a full release of litigation claims against the College, its officers and employees. The College did not make a good faith attempt to reach an agreement with Coach Wojcik,'' the attorney said.

Wojcik has about $1.2 million left on the five-year contract he signed after the 2012 season when he replaced the retiring Bobby Cremins.

Also Wednesday, McConnell named assistant coach Antonio Reynolds Dean as interim coach and appointed an eight-person search committee chaired by Hull to recommend the Cougars' next coach.

Former Charleston basketball coach John Kresse, who took the Cougars to four NCAA tournaments, and baseball coach Monte Lee are among those on the committee.

''I greatly appreciate their willingness to serve in this important capacity,'' McConnell said.

Reynolds Dean was hired as Wojcik's assistant in June.

Wojcik led the Cougars to a 24-11 season and the finals of the Southern Conference tournament his first season. But things slipped to 14-18 this past year after the College of Charleston moved to the Colonial Athletic Association.

The players hope to put this behind them and prepare for next season.

''We forgive Coach Wojcik and hope he and his family can move forward in a positive manner,'' the statement said.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
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