CofC fires Doug Wojcik in wake of abuse investigations
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - The College of Charleston announced Tuesday afternoon that head basketball Doug Wojcik would not be returning to his position.
Athletic Director Joe Hull is taking over the program.
A letter was sent out to the College community by new president Glenn McConnell. It's been more than a month since allegations surfaced that Wojcik had been verbally assaulting players and staff members.
"I am writing today to let you know I have made the decision to terminate Head Men's Basketball Coach Doug Wojcik's employment at the College of Charleston for just cause, pursuant to the terms of his contract, effective immediately," McConnell said in the letter.
He went on to say the College would not publicly comment on personnel decisions.
"I'm confident that our basketball program, and all our athletics programs, will continue to exemplify the high standards and outstanding reputation of the College, and I, along with other members of this administration, am dedicated to this end," he said.
Scott Tompsett, Wojcik's attorney, said in a statement moments after McConnell's decision was announced that firing the head coach would not bring closure to the program.
Tompsett said he and Wojcik tried several times since McConnell took office on July 1 to meet with him and reach a settlement, but "the College did not make a good faith attempt to reach an agreement with Coach Wojcik."
"The College became so desperate to invent a reason to fire Coach Wojcik that it had some of the young men on the basketball team sign sworn affidavits, which we believe contain materially false statements. The College 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," Tompsett said in the statement.
He went on to say the second investigation was only done to allow the College time to find a way out of Wojcik's contract without paying him.
"Coach Wojcik reiterates what he said over a month ago; he's sincerely remorseful and apologizes publicly to those he hurt emotionally or offended. He is a better person because of this experience and he'll be a better coach," Tompsett said.
Meanwhile, newly hired assistant coach Antonia Reynolds Dean is running practices in Wojcik's absence.
Many names will come up now to replace Wojcik, and none are bigger than Anthony Johnson, the Stall High grad and College of Charleston great who led the Cougars to multiple NCAA tournaments before spending 13 years in the NBA.
Johnson has hosted camps for nearly 20 years at the College and is still strongly tied to the school's boosters. Many people within the CofC community are pushing hard for Johnson to be named the new coach.
And he said Tuesday he was interested in the job.
"Yes, I am 100 percent interested in becoming the next head coach at the College of Charleston, and I feel like I can turn it around for the guys who are currently in the program and bring some credibility as far as style of play and excitement and just everything about getting the job done," he said.
"I'm a confident guy and I think we can get it turned around quickly."
Other names on a possible short list for the College include Charleston Southern's Barclay Radebaugh; Georgia Southern's Mark Byington, who also served as an interim coach at the College; Wofford's Mike Young; and former Boston College head coach Al Skinner.
According to a 50-page report obtained by ABC News 4, the Cougars head coach levied harsh personal attacks and threats of physical violence against players and staffers.
"I'm going to rip your [expletive] throat out," Wojcik told guard Chad Cooke, according to a report from another player.
Even the College's athletic director, Joe Hull, is reported as saying Wojcik is "extremely difficult to manage."
During an annual review with Wojcik, Hull described it as one of the most difficult reviews he's given in 30 years. Wojcik reportedly slammed the review down on a desk several time and walked out four times during the process only to return a few minutes later.
"Hull stated that Coach Wojcik made changes to the review with a red pen. Hull told Coach Wojcik he would take Wojcik's suggestions under advisement. Hull stated that he did look at Wojcik's comments and suggestions. However, he felt that Wojcik's review, as originally drafted, was fair and accurate. So, Hull decided not to revise the review," the report reads.
A number of unnamed players were interviewed for the investigation. One of them said the verbal assaults left players fearful of making a mistake, which led to poor performance during games and practice, things that would reportedly send Wojcik into a tirade.
The players say they have never had a coach like Wojcik in terms of behavior towards players.
The investigation report concludes that the people interviewed did not have credibility issues that would make the allegations seem made up.
"It is likely that many of the players feel that Coach Wojcik's comments and behavior towards them is generally insulting and degrading. It is likely that many of the players feel that Coach Wojcik's comments and behavior towards them generally crosses a line or boundary that they feel is improper. It is likely that players acknowledge that some amount of yelling and cursing by Coach Wojcik is appropriate, but that they feel that Coach Wojcik's frequent yelling, cursing, personal attacks, insulting of intelligence, and the like crosses a line or boundary with them," the report reads.