George Washington has fired head coach Mike Lonergan, NBCSports.com has confirmed through multiple sources.
Lonergan, 50, had been under investigation by the university since July due to allegations of verbal and emotional abuse of his players.
According to sources close to the situation, the decision came as a surprise to the coaching staff. George Washington was hosting a key recruit, Anthony Longpre, on an official visit this weekend. Sources told NBCSports.com that Lonergan did not attend a dinner on Friday evening with Longpre.
USA Today first reported Lonergan’s removal. According to multiple sources, members of the program were not informed of the decision when the news broke.
As of the time of publication, no decision has been made regarding an interim coach.
The program took a trip to Japan in August, a month after the allegations were made public in a report from the Washington Post. The investigation, including interviews of the coaching staff and members of the athletic department, continued after the team returned from that trip. Lonergan traveled with the team as acting head coach.
Lonergan has been at GW for five years and, in that timeframe, has had 13 players transfer out of the program. In each of the last four offseasons, three players have left the team. “I don’t think what he said should be tolerated,” one former unidentified GW player told the Post in July. “I would like to stay at GW. I will not play for Mike Lonergan.”
In the Post’s story, Lonergan was alleged to have told a player he should tryout for a “transgendered league”, and one player told the paper that he needed therapy after playing for Lonergan. According to a report from CBS Sports, allegedly referred to Seton Hall’s Derrick Gordon as “the gay kid”. Gordon was the first openly gay Division 1 men’s basketball player.
The Colonials are coming off of a season that ended with an NIT championship.
They begin the 2016-17 season on Nov. 11th with a home game against Maryland-Eastern Shore.
(When news of the allegations first broke, we discussed it on the podcast below. For the most part, I feel the same way today.)