Wojcik fired from CofC, attorney says college was 'desperate'

Published: Aug. 5, 2014 at 8:00 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 6, 2014 at 3:47 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The College of Charleston fired Head Men's Basketball Coach Doug Wojcik on Tuesday afternoon, 5 weeks after it was initially reported that the school had done an internal investigation into the coach verbally abusing his players.

Within minutes of announcement from President Glenn McConnell, Wojcik's attorney accused the college of being desperate to find a reason to do so.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Wojcik's attorney, Scott Tompsett, released a statement on behalf of his client, in which he alleged the college of being "so desperate to invent a reason to fire Coach Wojcik," that it had its players sign sworn affidavits they believe to be materially false and says CofC "even got one of the incoming freshmen, who has never even played for Coach Wojcik, to swear under oath that he was physically abused by Coach Wojcik."

Wojcik has been under investigation by the school over accusations of physical and verbal abuse of his players, accusations that Wojcik has denied. Last week, Wojcik's attorney, Scott Tompsett, released video footage he said disputed one of the complaints.  

"The College’s so-called second investigation was so focused on finding a way to avoid its contractual obligations, that the College completed the investigation and began termination proceedings against Coach Wojcik without even looking at the video of the incidents of alleged physical abuse. We were forced to release the video to the public to show that there was no physical abuse," Tompsett's statement read.

"There are many other examples of the College’s attempt to create a reason to avoid its contractual obligations. They will come out at the appropriate time," Tompsett stated, adding that Tuesday's termination will not bring closure to the situation.

"We have attempted several times since President McConnell took office on July 1 to engage the College in discussions to settle this 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," Tompsett said.

McConnell said Wojcik was being terminated effective immediately, "for just cause," pursuant to the terms of Wojcik's contract. That contract had three years remaining with an annual salary of $400,000, but it is unclear as yet whether the college will attempt to avoid paying that remaining $1.2 million because of the nature of the termination.

"You may have read media accounts or seen or heard information from other sources about the allegations regarding Mr. Wojcik. I want you to know, however, that the College of Charleston does not publicly discuss or comment on the specifics of personnel matters, unless there is a significantly compelling or legally mandated reason to do so," McConnell said in the statement.

McConnell said that as president of the college, a role he just assumed on July 1, his highest priorities include "the safeguarding of our College community, the preservation and enhancement of the College's excellent reputation, and the creation of a campus environment in which all students, faculty, staff, volunteers, friends and guests feel welcome, safe and respected."

McConnell said he is confident the CofC basketball program and its athletics programs will "continue to exemplify the high standards and outstanding reputation of the College."

According to the release, Athletics Director Joe Hull is now responsible for the men's basketball program. Last week, Hull said that new assistant coach Antonio Reynolds-Dean, would be in charge of running practices.

The CofC players, who had been completely silent since news of the investigation became public, released a statement early Wednesday morning saying in part "These past few weeks have been difficult for us, yet in many ways it has brought us closer together as a team."

"There have been many half-truths and misinformation that have surfaced during the investigation. We know, and our coaches know, what really happened over the last two seasons."

"We completely and wholeheartedly concur with the findings of the investigation and the actions that President McConnell has taken in this matter"

They'd go on to say "We forgive Coach Wojcik and hope that he and his family can move forward in a positive manner from here."

Former player Bart Benton, who played for Wojcik in the coach's 1st year at CofC and has been vocal in his displeasure about the coach throughout this ordeal told Live 5 Sports "I'm just relieved it's all over. You never want the program you played for to have such negativity surrounding it. I'm glad the school stood up for what is right and decided to fire Wojcik. Now I'm looking forward to us hiring a good coach and having a great season."

There's been no word on who will be taking over the program permanently, but former College of Charleston star Anthony Johnson has made it well known he would like to be the next head coach.

In a phone call with Live 5 Sports Tuesday, Johnson said "I do have definite interest in being the head coach at the College of Charleston"

Johnson said he would wait to hear from the school at first but that now his "attentions turn to doing what I need to do to be the next head coach at the College."

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