CofC basketball team: 'We forgive Doug Wojcik'

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - The day after the College of Charleston announced head basketball coach Doug Wojcik would not be returning to his place on the court, the team issued a statement.

"We completely and wholeheartedly concur with the findings of the investigation and the actions that President (Glenn) McConnell has taken in this matter," the team statement reads.

The team also thanked the fans, families, the Cougar Club and the administration for "unwavering support during this horrendous situation."

But the team said it was difficult to see their confidential testimony published in report after report since the first investigation wrapped up in late June.

A dozen current and former members of the team were interviewed by an independent investigator for the College after allegation of verbal abuse surfaced against the head coach.

What followed was a 50-page catalogue of wrongs and abuses against Wojcik, including name-calling and expletive-laden rants directed at players, staff members and even the school's athletic director.

In a sign that the team and the organization is hoping to move past the month of negative press and scrutiny as Wojcik was investigated, the team said it forgives Wojcik.

"We forgive Coach Wojcik and hope that he and his family can move forward in a positive manner from here," the statement reads.

"We are looking forward to putting this behind us and getting back to what we are here to do in the first place - get an excellent college education and reach our full potential as athletes and as a team on the basketball court."

In a statement from McConnell on Monday announcing Wojcik had been fired, he said Athletic Director Joe Hull was taking over the duties of leading the basketball team.

On the Wojcik side, however, things are not so quick to end.

Scott Tompsett, a sports attorney who has been representing Wojcik during the ordeal, said in a statement Monday that McConnell's decision was not going to end to debacle.

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.

It is unclear if Tompsett and Wojcik will file a suit against the College to collect on at least part of his outstanding contracted salary.

Wojcik was two years into a five-year contract when he was fired. He stood to make $1.2 million if he was dismissed from the program early.

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College starts search for new coach

Meanwhile, the College is wasting no time starting its search for a new head coach. The College announced Wednesday afternoon that it had formed an 8-person search committee to find a new coach.

The committee consists of Vince Benigni, the faculty representative to the athletics department; Otto German, a 1973 graduate of the College and the assistant athletics director for NCAA compliance; Kenneth Gustafson, a 1975 graduate and former player on the basketball team; John Kresse, the College's storied former head coach; Monte Lee, a 2000 graduate of the College and the school's current head baseball coach; Steve Osborne, a 1973 graduate and the Executive Vice President of Business Affairs at the College; and Tomi Youngblood, the president of the Cougar Club's board of directors.

"The individuals on this committee all have dedicated themselves tirelessly to the tradition of athletic excellence at the College of Charleston," said McConnell. "I greatly appreciate their willingness to serve in this important capacity, and I look forward to receiving their recommendations."

In the meantime, Reynolds Dean will serve as interim head coach.

Newly hired assistant coach Antonio Reynolds Dean was 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.