UPDATE: George Washington provost Forrest Maltzman released the following statement on Saturday:
Here’s a statement from George Washington provost Forrest Maltzmam … pic.twitter.com/VEe0WVTaUK— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) September 17, 2016
The statement reads:
Effective today, Mike Lonergan is no longer the Head Men’s Basketball Coach of the George Washington University. The university will have an announcement soon about an interim coach.
The university has created and is committed to maintaining a community where all students, faculty and staff feel welcome and comfortable. We value inclusion and diversity and will not tolerate conduct that runs counter to those principles.
The university recently conducted a thorough investigation into allegations concerning Coach Lonergan. The university concluded that Coach Lonergan had engaged in conduct inconsistent with the university’s values.
A broader review of the Department of Athletics and Recreation is currently underway and will be completed in the near future. We recognize and embrace our responsibility to provide a supportive and respectful environment for all members of our community.
News that George Washington had fired head coach Mike Lonergan came late on Friday night, mere weeks before the start of the season.
Talk about curious timing.
But college basketball reporters worked hard into the night, and here’s what we know about the administration’s decision to let Lonergan go, just under two months from from the Colonials’ Nov. 11 opener against Maryland Eastern Shore.
- According to multiple outlets, the news surprised the GW coaching staff. The school still has not officially announced the move.
- The Colonials had a recruit in town and Lonergan was a no-show for dinner with him. ESPN is reporting that Lonergan left campus during the day without giving a reason.
- That recruit, Anthony Longpre, is important. The 6’9 pick-and-pop forward has St. Joe’s and Kansas State, along with GW, in his final five. He would be a nice addition to the Colonials with Tyler Cavanaugh and Patrick Steeves running out of eligibility after this year. One would think this hurts their chances of landing him.
- Lonergan had been the focus of an internal investigation after a story from the Washington Post aired allegations of verbal abuse and other offensive behavior directed at his players.
- Despite those allegations, sources told ESPN that the staff was excited about the team’s “great chemistry” and “senior leadership.” If true, both of those will now be essential for a talented team facing a difficult situation.
- CBSSports.com’s Matt Norlander learned a few things about the the university’s investigation. According to Norlander, many former players opted against discussing the allegations with investigators. Those that did were specifically asked if Lonergan had referred to former UMass and Seton Hall guard Derrick Gordon as “the gay kid.”
- The focus now turns to Lonergan’s potential replacement. Given that this happened so late in the offseason, tabbing someone on the current staff, like assistant Hajj Turner, would make the most sense. NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster floated Pitt assistant Kevin Sutton as a name to watch as well. Sutton was a prep school coach for 17 years and has been an assistant at both GW (under Lonergan) and Georgetown.