Doug Wojcik and the College of Charleston have reached a settlement that will finally end a soap opera that has dragged on for more than two months.
Wojcik was accused of verbally and physically abusing his players during his two seasons at the helm at Charleston leading to his dismissal in early August. He was fired for cause, but it was determined that there were no signs of physical abuse.
After a long, drawn-out and fairly embarrassing coaching search, the Cougars not only have a head coach but they now have finally cut all ties with their former coach. On Tuesday, the Charleston Post and Courier reported that Wojcik and the university had reached a settlement that would pay him $400,000, or the equivalent on one year’s salary. He had three years and $1.2 million left on his contract.
The College of Charleston and former head coach Doug Wojcik reached a settlement on Tuesday afternoon, according to Wojcik’s attorney, Ronald L. Richter Jr.
Wojcik was fired for just cause on Aug. 5 after two seasons as former players had accused him of verbal abuse. Those allegations went public in July with a 50-page report documenting their claims.
“After a full review of the facts relating to the allegation of physical abuse made by a player, the College made no finding of physical abuse, but concluded physical contact occurred that was offensive to the player,” a statement from Richter read, according to Andrew Miller of the Post and Courier.
A second investigation was conducted later on July 23 after Trevonte Dixon, who played for Wojcik during the 2012-2013 season, said he was involved in a physical confrontation with Wojcik during a game against Elon on Dec. 1, 2012. College of Charleston determined there was no evidence of physical abuse, according to the Post and Courier.
The terms of the settlement were not released.
College of Charleston coaching search came to an end last Tuesday when the school hired Clemson assistant Earl Grant. The first-year head coach had been at Clemson for four seasons, previously serving on Gregg Marshall’s staff at both Winthrop and Wichita State.
It appeared last week that the College of Charleston was ready close the book on a difficult summer. It took more than a month — and a second investigation — to remove Doug Wojcik from his head coaching duties. On Aug. 26, three weeks after Wojcik’s firing, the search committee reportedly gave College of Charleston president Glenn McConnell two finalists.
The next day, Wofford head coach Mike Young and former CofC guard Anthony Johnson both removed their names from consideration. Young and Johnson became the top options out of the six candidates in contention. This weekend, Clemson assistant coach Earl Grant and N.C. State associate head coach Bobby Lutz — both previously had interviewed — were back on campus for a second time, according to Jimmy Utter of the News & Observer.
Lutz, 56, is set to begin his fourth season on coach Mark Gottfried’s staff at N.C. State and his third year as associate head coach. The Wolfpack advanced to its third straight NCAA tournament and ended the season with a 22-14 record.
Sources said the College of Charleston has also spoke to Clemson assistant Earl Grant about the position. The school expects to make a decision by the middle of next week, sources said.
Lutz coached Charlotte from 1998-2010, leading the 49ers to five NCAA tournament appearances. Grant has been on the Clemson coaching staff for the past four seasons. Before joining the Tigers coaching staff, he was an assistant under Gregg Marshall at Winthrop and Wichita State. According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, Grant has the support of former CofC head coach John Kresse.
UConn assistant Karl Hobbs and Virginia associate head coach Ritchie McKay — both of whom have head coaching experience — were also interviewed before the search committee keyed in on Johnson and Young. McKay reportedly withdrew from consideration on Sunday.
The college basketball season begins in 33 days.
Eight days ago the College of Charleston fired then-head coach Doug Wojcik, with the decision coming on the heels of an investigation into allegations of player abuse. Wojcik was originally suspended for the entire month of August, with the decision to relieve him of his duties permanently resulting in Antonio Reynolds-Dean being named interim head coach.
But the process of finding a new head coach (the school has put together a search committee) isn’t the only issue the administrators could have to deal with. According to Andrew Miller of The Post and Courier, there’s a chance that Wojcik and attorney Scott Thompsett could file a wrongful termination lawsuit to dispute school president Glenn McConnell’s assertion that Wojcik was fired for “just cause” following a second investigation.
And that could prove costly for both sides, and not just from a financial standpoint either.
The fact that Wojcik had accepted the punishment handed down by [former school president George] Benson but later was fired by McConnell with no substantial new evidence could be the strongest argument for the coach, [lawyer and ESPN analyst Jay] Bilas said.
“From Doug Wojcik’s position, I think one could raise some questions about whether or not the second investigation was undertaken simply to take the action to fire him,” Bilas said. “They had suspended him and for whatever reason, later on decided that they needed to, or should have, fired Doug. So now they need to create a situation under which we can fire him for just cause.”
The College of Charleston’s changing of presidents in the midst of this controversy is something that could hurt them should a wrongful termination suit be filed, with the quoted text above being one reason why. And while there has been reported interest in the open position, could a lawsuit hurt the school’s chances of bringing in the best possible candidate for the job?
The answer to that question won’t be known until Wojcik and his attorney make a decision with regards to the possibility of suing the school. And should there be a lawsuit, according to the story it may be a long time before the courts render a verdict given how much needs to be done from a legal standpoint.
“If the suit were to survive all the initial filings and motions and counter motions, then it’ll go to the discovery phase,” Bilas said. “And that’s where things could get very interesting. During that discovery phase an attorney can ask any question they reasonably think will lead to discovery of admissible evidence. It’s a nice way of saying that Scott (Tompsett) or the College of Charleston attorneys can ask anything they want.”
And if this dispute were to reach that point, things could get ugly for all involved parties.
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After several investigations, the College of Charleston fired head coach Doug Wojcik, who had been accused of verbally and physically abusing players during his two years at the school.
According to a report on Thursday from Andrew Miller of the Post and Courier, an eight-person search committee is looking to have a candidate to present to College of Charleston president Glenn F. McConnell by Aug. 19, the day classes are set to begin. It is believed that Anthony Johnson, who a member of the CofC Athletics Hall of Fame, is the frontrunner.
From the Post and Courier:
“There’s a lot of support for Anthony and a lot of people who want to see Anthony get the job,” the source said. “There’s no question that he’s a very strong candidate, but the committee does not want to rush to a decision. They want it to be a thorough process so they can get the right person in place.”
Johnson set the school record for assists with 520 while leading the Cougars to an appearance in the 1997 NCAA Tournament. He went onto become an NBA journeyman, playing for seven different teams in his 13-year career.
Miller also mentioned four other candidates for the position. Among them are Wofford head coach Mike Young, Clemson assistant Earl Grant, Tulane assistant Shammond Williams and former Boston College head coach and current Bryant associate head coach Al Skinner.
Wojcik was initially investigated for verbal abuse in early July. After five weeks, a detailed 50-page report of the allegations and a second investigation, Wojcik was fired for just cause on August 5. In two seasons, he was 38-29.
At the start of the month, assistant Antonio Reynolds Dean was named acting head coach.
After a pair of investigations, College of Charleston head coach Doug Wojcik was fired on Tuesday afternoon.
Wojcik had been accused of verbally and physically abusing players. The investigation, conducted by the school, first went public in early July, followed by 50-page report, documenting the allegations. He was investigated a second time later that month, when a former player came forward claiming he had been in a physical confrontation with Wojcik in December 2012.
The school announced that Wojcik was fired for cause, in accordance to the terms of his contract. He had $1.2 million remaining on his deal.
“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,” College of Charleston President Glenn F. McConnell wrote in a statement.
Assistant coach Antonio Reynolds Dean was named acting head coach on Aug. 1 while Wojcik served an unpaid suspension. Dean and the other two Charleston assistants handled the majority of the recruiting during the July live period, as Wojcik was barred from the first week, but was seen at events in South Carolina and Atlanta later in the month, according to reports.
Andrew Miller, who has covered this scandal for the Post and Courier, reported over the weekend that former Charleston guard and NBA veteran Anthony Johnson was being considered the frontrunner for the job as the school looked to put an end to the ordeal. Whoever takes over the program will inherit a 14-18 (6-10 CAA) team without its leading scorer and rebounder from a season ago. But this is a quality mid-major job in a competitive conference.
In two seasons at Charleston, Wojcik was 38-29. He spent the previous seven seasons at Tulsa.