CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -
The College of Charleston has conducted a 2nd investigation into head basketball coach Doug Wojcik, with one of the focuses being physical abuse against a former Cougar player.
The player, Trevonte Dixon, played for Wojcik in the coaches 1st season with CofC. Dixon referred questions to his lawyer, Florence's Rose Mary Parham of the Parham Law Firm. Parham told Live 5 that Dixon claims he was assaulted by Wojcik in his time at the College, once in a preseason game in Canada and again in a game against Elon. She also said Dixon claims that Wojcik threw basketballs at players during practices. Dixon said he was hit in the chest and saw one player hit in the head.
Parham delivered a statement to Live 5 on Dixon's behalf saying "Trevonte had dreams of playing at the College of Charleston for 4 years and graduating with a business degree and because of Coach Wojcik's actions those dreams are no longer possible."
Dixon transferred to Francis Marion after the 2012-13 season. Parham said Wojcik was the only reason for that decision.
Wojcik's attorney, Scott Tompsett, released a statement Wednesday evening on behalf of the coach saying "A Charleston Post and Courier article published late in the evening on Tuesday, July 22, quoted an anonymous source – presumably associated with the College of Charleston - claiming that video evidence in a new report commissioned by the College supports an allegation of a physical confrontation between Coach Wojcik and student-athlete Trevonte Dixon. The original story has been republished multiple times across the internet on other news outlets and on social media.
Coach Wojcik denies the allegation. Moreover, the anonymous source’s claim is categorically false; there is no video evidence. And the College knows there is no video evidence, yet it refused our request to issue a public statement correcting the misinformation, instead permitting false information to be published repeatedly.
We’ve also been informed that Dixon has alleged to a media outlet this afternoon that Coach Wojcik maliciously threw balls at student-athletes in practice. This allegation is also false. Coach Wojcik’s practices have always been open to the public, and well attended by College administrators and the public. And they’ve been videotaped. There’s no credible corroboration for the young man’s claim, and video evidence of Coach Wojcik’s practices will refute his allegation."
This is the latest turn in what has become a crazy soap opera on George Street over the past several weeks starting with the initial 50 page report concerning Wojcik's verbal abuse of his players that the report said "most likely happened".
Wojcik spent last weekend on the recruiting trail according to a report from ESPN. That came 3 days after the College of Charleston released a statement saying "We do not anticipate Coach Wojcik recruiting for College of Charleston this week."
ESPN reported the school was aware that Wojcik went to Augusta, where several high profile recruiting events took place. CofC officials had no comment on the report.
New College of Charleston President Glenn McConnell said "it was a quite a surprise to walk in there the first day and have this confronted to me" when asked about the situation regarding his men's basketball coach.
It was one of the only things McConnell said other than "no comment" while at a ceremony to honor him at North Charleston City Hall last Monday night. But it was the first thing the President has said since the report accusing Coach Wojcik of verbal abuse against his players came out 2 weeks ago.
There is a growing expectation that the Wojcik situation will be resolved at some point this week. While McConnell wouldn't comment on a time frame he said "you always like to problems concluded or decisions made."
Wojcik and his attorney released a statement on July 5th stating that the coach has no plans to resign after a school investigation that alleges numerous instances of verbal abuse. Wojcik's attorney, Scott Tompsett said in the statement released to ESPN ""It's not true that coach Wojcik is quitting, He has three years remaining on his contract, and he intends to fulfill that contract. Coach Wojcik very much wants to be the head men's basketball coach at the College of Charleston."
Tompsett said that Wojcik has been cooperative throughout the investigation and accepted sanctions from the school that includes a month long suspension in August without pay and long term counseling.
He'd go on to say "We're hopeful the team will move forward with him toward a successful season in the Colonial Athletic Association," Tompsett said in the statement. "I'm speaking for myself when I say this; everyone deserves a chance to correct their mistakes. This is the first time the College received complaints, and it did the right thing by conducting a thorough investigation and bringing it to coach Wojcik's attention. He's taken this very seriously, as he should. And since the investigation began right through to president Benson's decision, he's been cooperative and compliant. And like anyone else, coach Wojcik deserves a chance to make things right."
Coach Wojcik also made a statement saying ""I'm sincerely remorseful and apologize to those I've hurt," Wojcik said in a statement released to ESPN.com. "I've already started making amends and working on correcting my actions. The College and I are grateful these concerns were brought to our attention, and every effort will be made to improve relations between myself and all members of the men's basketball program."
Multiple former players and College of Charleston staff members describe several issues of verbal abuse, attacks and more against Cougars head basketball coach Doug Wojcik in the 50 page report the school had done by a local lawyer after players complained about the coaches behavior.
Perhaps most damning was a statement from athletic director Joe Hull who said Wojcik is "extremely difficult to manage."
Players describe the coach as having a "Jekyll and Hyde" personality describing him as very nice and very mean with the coach switching at a moments notice.
Overall 12 players were interviewed along with former and current assistant coaches and administrators.
One former player, who asked not to be named, told Live 5 in a statement "there was verbal abuse on daily basis. Things that had nothing to do with basketball. It's an absolute travesty if he keeps his job."
Another former player said "anyone that was in or around the program has been a victim of the verbal abuse. I wasn't affected much by it although I may have gotten it worst that anyone. The type of behavior should not be tolerated. There is a difference between having a tough coach who challenges a player daily, and a guy who personally attacks players about things that have absolutely nothing to do with basketball or academics."
Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo, who hired Wojcik to work for the Spartans from 2003-2005 went on ESPN's Outside the Lines last Wednesday and defended his former assistant. "I love Doug Wojcik" Izzo said. "You know, one of the reasons I hired him is his military background, his discipline, his organizational skills, his family, incredible wife and kids. You know, not knowing everything that went on [in Charleston], I don’t know. But I can promise you this, he was not only well liked by players, but he was also, I visited him down in Charleston and met a lot of players he coached. …You know it bothers me because I think this guy is, you know, I know he was involved in a lot of jobs and one of the young stars coming up.”
South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin, who himself has had issues with verbal abuse including being suspended for a game back in March, also appeared on the program. While he didn't get into the specifics of Wojcik's case, he did talk about the tough style of coaching and added that personal attacks, such as the kind Wojcik is accused of making to some of his players, have no place in coaching.
“I tell our players all the time, the day it becomes personal I can’t coach you anymore. I need to make sure that you and I have a personal relationship. that way we both understand each other and the educational part of it never crosses that line.”
Wojcik is suppose to be heading into his 3rd season as the head coach for the Cougars. He's gone 39-28 in his 1st 2 years and has three years left on his original contract that pays him around $400,000 per year. If the school was going to try to fire him, and do it without cause, it could cost them up to $1.2 million.