George Washington players have complained to the university about head coach Mike Lonergan's verbally abusive and offensive behavior, according to a report from the Washington Post.
The Post details one player’s complaints, which included how Lonrgan created an "offensive, uncomfortable environment" around the program. The player pointed to 13 transfers over Lonergan’s five years at George Washington as evidence of its impact on the team.
One of the complaints, the Post said, was about "repeated graphic remarks" about athletic director Patrick Nero.
After making the complaint, the player was reportedly told that Lonergan had previously been investigated for similar behavior.
"I don’t think the guy should be in sports," a former player told the Post. "I don’t think what he said should be tolerated. I would like to stay at GW. I will not play for Mike Lonergan."
Lonergan refused to be interviewed for the Post’s story, but released an email statement to try and clear his name:
"I will not respond to anonymous, unfounded allegations. These types of accusations have already been investigated by the University and found to be groundless. Those who know me know that I conduct myself and run my program with integrity. I have a long record of graduating student-athletes who go on to be successful in life. I am proud of my student-athletes’ success on the court and in the classroom, and I am focused on preparing for the upcoming season."
When Lonergan was told that the Post was going to print the story, detailing the accusations, players say he called them into his office to try and determine the anonymous sources. He also emailed current players to tell them the allegations were "lies."
UPDATE: Former Colonials forward Isaiah Armwood came forward to defend Lonergan in a series of tweets.
This is 100% bullshit.Verbal and emotional abuse. Are you serious ? Players are soft ...— Isaiah Armwood (@Zeek_Armwood) July 21, 2016
Idk about the other parts of the article referring to the AD Patrick Nero, he was always good AD in my eyes but as far as players saying— Isaiah Armwood (@Zeek_Armwood) July 21, 2016
Lonergan verbally and emotionally abused them. Go find another sport. It's called MENS basketball.— Isaiah Armwood (@Zeek_Armwood) July 21, 2016
I was under Lonergan for 3 years. We bumped heads often, but this story is ridiculous.— Isaiah Armwood (@Zeek_Armwood) July 21, 2016