Court documents shed light on coach prospect walking away from CofC deal

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - New details came to light Thursday as to why one of the College of Charleston's basketball coach finalists walked away from the job and it centers around a 2011 domestic violence report in Georgia.

According to court documents, Anthony Johnson pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge in Cobb County, Ga., after he "unlawfully and intentionally [made] physical contact of an insulting and provoking nature" with his then-wife.

The documents show his wife was pregnant at the time of the incident. As a result, he was also charged with third-degree cruelty to a child. A warrant states Johnson "using one hand pushed victim on throat area."

There was a child in the room, documents show.

According to the Cobb County court documents, Johnson's bond was set at $2,400. As part of his plea deal recorded in court documents, he was supposed to serve 19 days in jail for the offense.

According to a source close to the search, the College was supposed to announce its newest head basketball coach on Wednesday afternoon with a press conference sometime Friday.

Those sources said the coach named will be former Cougar standout and NBA player Anthony Johnson. The deal was so close to being final that there was a release being written with quotes from both Johnson and athletics officials at the College. However according to Johnson, he withdrew his name from consideration citing personal reasons. The Post and Courier's Andrew Miller first heard from Johnson on his decision.

In a release, Johnson said he was working with his wife to reconcile and had decided to focus his attention there. He said turning away from the job at CofC was in the best interests of his two children.

"I would like to thank President McConnell for his understanding. He was great in his effort of supporting me while at the same time doing what is in the best interests of the College of Charleston," he said.

He went on the thank Athletic Director Joe Hull in the statement, adding the team has his full support as they move forward in the search for a new coach.

The other finalist, Mike Young, also withdrew his name, according to reports. It appears the College may be back to the drawing board with just weeks before the season begins.

Johnson has been vocal in his interest in the job since Doug Wojcik, the former coach, was fired after a long verbal abuse investigation.

"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."

Earlier this month, the 8-member search committee reached out to Johnson and asked him to be a candidate.

Johnson is a Stall High grad and College of Charleston great who led the Cougars to multiple NCAA tournaments before spending 13 years in the NBA. He's considered by many to be the greatest player in the College's history.

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.

The announcement from Johnson comes hours after former interim head coach Mark Byington said he was not interested in the leaving Georgia Southern.

Other names on a possible short list for the College include Charleston Southern's Barclay Radebaugh; Wofford's Mike Young; and former Boston College head coach Al Skinner.

The past few months have been spent investigating allegations of verbal abuse by Wojcik. An independent attorney was brought in to consider the claims and interview members of the team and athletics department.

What resulted was a 50-page report that depicted Wojcik as a man with a quick temper and a foul mouth. Wojcik was two years into a five-year contract when he was fired.