Courtside

Your Guide to GW sports

Tag

Mike Lonergan

Updated Sept. 27, 2016 at 3:46 p.m.

Maurice Joseph will serve as interim head coach of the men’s basketball program this fall, the athletic department announced Tuesday afternoon.

Joseph fills the position 10 days after former head coach Mike Lonergan was dismissed by the University following an investigation into allegations of verbal and emotional abuse.

The 31-year-old has been part of the team’s staff for five years and served as an assistant coach during GW’s past three seasons.

“I am eager and well prepared to begin this journey with the 13 student-athletes in our locker room and the tight-knit group of coaches that I will rely upon heavily,” Joseph said in a release. “It is a distinct honor to have the opportunity to be a mentor to our team in this new role.”

The Montreal, Quebec native has collegiate playing experience at Michigan State and Vermont, where he led the Catamounts to an America East Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010 under then-Vermont head coach Lonergan.

“It brings me great excitement and pride to hear that Maurice Joseph will lead the George Washington program,” Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. “He entered Michigan State as an intelligent player with great people skills and would quickly develop the discipline and toughness that will serve him well in his new role. There’s not a doubt in my mind that he is incredibly well suited to lead the Colonials.”

According to Adam Zagoria of SportsNet New York, the University interviewed all three of the assistant coaches on staff for the job. The selection of Joseph means GW passed up on sixth-year associate head coach Hajj Turner and third-year assistant coach Carmen Maciariello.

“MoJo emerged as the right individual for this interim position,” Provost Forrest Maltzman said in a release. “He’s a strong teacher, and he has the full support of the university. MoJo will be an excellent mentor for the young men he will lead with his understanding of the ideals of what a student-athlete should be, and he will prioritize a united locker room to achieve the program’s common goals.”

Men’s basketball tips off on its 2016-2017 season at the Smith Center on Nov. 11.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Former men's basketball head coach Mike Lonergan will seek appropriate relief for his termination, which was announced by the University Saturday. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Former men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan will seek appropriate relief for his termination. GW announced Saturday that Lonergan was longer with the program. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Updated: Sept. 18, 2016 at 4:36 p.m.

Mike Lonergan’s attorneys said the former men’s basketball head coach will “seek appropriate relief” for his termination following a probe into verbal and emotional abuse allegations.

“[Lonergan] cooperated fully with the University’s Title IX review.  The University never identified to the Coach his accuser, much less the details and the substance of the anonymous accusations,” a statement, obtained by the Hatchet Sunday afternoon, said.

“He was denied administrative due process in the form of a hearing as required by his contract and the policies of the University.  The University failed and refused to give Coach Lonergan written notice of the outcome of the Title IX review, which is required by the University’s own policy, and the University violated the confidentiality provisions of the policy by issuing a press release about the review,” according to the statement by attorneys Scott Tompsett and John Dowd.

The statement follows the University’s formal announcement on Saturday that Lonergan has been dismissed from the program after an independent investigation concluded he had “engaged in conduct inconsistent with the university’s values.”

The attorneys thanked current and former players, their parents and coaching staff for their support on Lonergan’s behalf and said he “looks forward” to coaching for another university.

“Coach Lonergan has been a college basketball coach for twenty-eight years with a superior, unblemished reputation for inspiring and protecting his players. He has graduated every single player he recruited,” according to the statement.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
GW officially announced the dismissal of men's basketball head coach Mike Lonergan late Saturday afternoon. Hatchet file photo by Dan Rich | Photo Editor

GW officially announced the dismissal of men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan late Saturday afternoon. Hatchet file photo by Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Updated: Sept. 17, 2016 at 5:14 p.m.

Men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan has officially been dismissed from the program, according to a statement released by Provost Forrest Maltzman Saturday afternoon.

The University plans to announce an interim head coach soon.

“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,” Maltzman said in the release. “The University concluded that Coach Lonergan had engaged in conduct inconsistent with the university’s values.”

He added that the University will conduct “a broader review” of the athletics department.

Executive Director of Athletics Communications Brian Sereno declined to answer any questions. 

The announcement follows a flurry of reports late Friday night that GW had decided to fire the fifth-year head coach after investigating verbal and emotional abuse allegations published in the Washington Post in July.

GW opens its 2016-2017 season on Nov. 11 against Maryland Eastern Shore.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
According to USA Today Sports, GW has fired Mike Lonergan after investigating verbal and emotional abuse allegations made against the men's basketball head coach in July. Hatchet file photo by Dan Rich | Photo Editor

According to USA Today Sports, GW has fired Mike Lonergan after investigating verbal and emotional abuse allegations made against the men’s basketball head coach in July. Hatchet file photo by Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Updated: Sept. 17, 2016 at 12:51 a.m.

Men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan has been fired, according to USA Today Sports.

A person who spoke to USA Today’s Dan Wolken on the condition of anonymity said GW has not yet announced the firing and that the coaching staff was informed of the decision Friday night.

The decision comes nearly two months after the Washington Post published verbal and emotional abuse allegations against the fifth-year head coach.

According to CBSSports‘ Matt Norlander, the investigation conducted by outside law firm Saul Ewing also uncovered new information and allegations not included in the Post’s story, including the fact that Lonergan referred to Derrick Gordon — the first active openly gay men’s college basketball player — as “the gay kid.” Gordon played for A-10 foe Massachusetts from 2013-2015 before transferring to Seton Hall.

The University did not immediately return the Hatchet’s request for comment.

The Colonials went a combined 97-70 (44-40 A-10) under Lonergan, reaching the NCAA tournament in 2014 and winning a 2016 NIT Championship title last spring. 

GW opens its 2016-2017 season on Nov. 11 against Maryland Eastern Shore.

 

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Hatchet file photo by Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Hatchet file photo by Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Updated: July 23, 2016 at 3:55 p.m.

Men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan posted on his Facebook page Friday amid “verbal and emotional abuse,” allegations reported by the Washington Post.

“I have always loved my family and that family includes our basketball family. My life is dedicated to them,” the fifth-year head coach wrote. “I have never done anything but love my players and supported them on or off the court-not just for 4 years but for life. That will continue.”

“I want to thank all my players and their parents who publicly and privately supported me today and refuted the false allegations made against me. You are the reason I’ve been able to live such a blessed life. God bless you all! John 8:32.”

The statement comes one day after the Post published an article that cites former and current players, as well as former team staffers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the “offensive, intolerable environment” created by Lonergan.

Scott Tompsett, Lonergan’s attorney, also provided ESPN with a statement on behalf of the coach on Thursday afternoon.

“The Washington Post article is full of lies and half-truths. For example, GWU administrators did not ‘address concerns’ with Coach Lonergan last year. Rather, they looked into allegations and after a thorough investigation, concluded that Coach Lonergan had not violated University policy and that no further action would be taken.”

“The fact of the matter is that the anonymous accusations are not new and they are not true.”

“Coach Lonergan has a well-earned reputation in the college basketball world as a coach who runs his program with integrity and respect. He has always been a champion of diversity and inclusion. Coach Lonergan celebrates those values. Coach Lonergan is proud of his team and its accomplishments both on and off the court. He will aggressively defend himself and his program against false and defamatory accusations.”

A number of former players, including Patricio Garino, Isaiah Armwood and Maurice Creek have publicly defended their former coach.

A GW spokesman said in a statement to the Hatchet Thursday that the University will be bringing in outside counsel to assist in the investigation of allegations against Lonergan.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:

The Hatchet incorrectly reported that head coach Mike Lonergan’s Facebook post had been deleted. Nothing has been deleted off of Lonergan’s Facebook page. We regret this error.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Thursday, July 21, 2016 5:19 p.m.

Former players defend Lonergan on Twitter

Updated: June 21, 2016 at 10:51 p.m.

Several former players came out in defense of Mike Lonergan on Twitter Thursday after the Washington Post reported damning allegations against the fifth-year men’s basketball head coach.

Speaking to the Post under the condition of anonymity, multiple former and current players, as well as former team staffers, detailed the toxic environment Lonergan created through “verbal and emotional abuse,” as well as inappropriate comments made about Athletic Director Patrick Nero.

Recent graduate and Argentine Olympian Patricio Garino, part of Lonergan’s 2016 NIT Championship team last season, said he was, “shocked,” upon reading the accusations.

“Coach [Lonergan] is very old school and he’s going to push you to the limits to reach your potential,” Garino said in a statement posted to his Twitter account Wednesday.

“I owe a lot of my success to Coach Lonergan and his coaching staff through four years, I truly wouldn’t be close to playing in the Olympics if it wasn’t for him,” he wrote. “I love all my teammates that I had through four years but I don’t agree with their ‘anonymity’ to say things behind a screen. If you have a problem solve it face to face. I will be loyal to the GW family, Nero and Lonergan for life.”

Isaiah Armwood and Maurice Creek, who helped the Colonials reach the 2014 NCAA Tournament as a senior and graduate student, respectively, also took to Twitter to denounce the report.

This is 100% bullshit. Verbal and emotional abuse. Are you serious? Players are soft…,” Armwood said in a tweet. “I was under Lonergan for 3 years. We bumped heads often, but this story is ridiculous,” read another.

“Man listen Coach Lonergan is a great coach…Haven’t even read the story and I won’t read it..This article is ridiculous #StopTheNonsense,” Creek wrote.

Garino’s tweet was also liked by graduate student forward Tyler Cavanaugh, entering his second and final season at GW this fall, and former point guard Joe McDonald.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Current and former men's basketball players and staffers said head coach Mike Lonergan created an uncomfortable team environment. Hatchet file photo by Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Current and former men’s basketball players and staffers said head coach Mike Lonergan creates an uncomfortable team environment. Hatchet file photo by Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Updated: July 21, 2016 at 10:52 p.m.

Fifth-year men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan has come under fire for “verbal and emotional abuse” of players, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

The article cites former and current men’s basketball players as well as team staffers who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The allegations follow three offseason transfers from the program, and a total of 13 transfers in the past five years.

“I don’t think the guy should be in sports,” one 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.”

“A lot of kids transfer because they have delusions of grandeur,” a former team staffer added. “Nobody transferred from GW with delusions of grandeur. They just transferred because they hated him. They couldn’t stand another second of him.”

One complaint was filed to Title IX Coordinator Rory Muhammad as recently as early April, following the team’s 2016 NIT Championship, according to the Post. The player said Lonergan created an offensive, uncomfortable environment and complained the coach had made repeated graphic remarks about Athletic Director Patrick Nero.

Muhammad told the player that Lonergan’s behavior had previously been “handled,” according to the Post.

Among other complaints, five current and former players said Lonergan told them Nero “requested the practice tapes so he could masturbate while viewing them in his office.” Other current and former players said Lonergan told one player in front of the team that “he should transfer to a ‘transgender league.’”

“I will not respond to anonymous, unfounded allegations,” Lonergan told the Post. “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,” he added.

“As reported today by the Washington Post, the George Washington University is undertaking a Title IX review of allegations against men’s basketball coach Mike Lonergan,” a university spokesman told the Hatchet in an emailed statement Thursday. “Some of the reported allegations go beyond the scope of Title IX, and the university is bringing in outside counsel to assist in its investigation.  The university expects full cooperation and will not tolerate retaliation during the course of the investigation.  We will also continue to inform the student-athletes on our men’s basketball team of the university’s support and of the resources available to them.”

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:

The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the Washington Post article was published Wednesday. It was published Thursday. We regret this error.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Tuesday, May 24, 2016 4:30 p.m.

Men’s basketball signs Justin Williams

Annapolis Area Christian School guard Justin Williams has signed a National Letter of Intent to join the men’s basketball program, head coach Mike Lonergan announced Tuesday.

Williams becomes the sixth member of the 2016-2017 class, joining guards Darnell Rogers and Jair Bolden, forwards Kevin Marfo and Arnaldo Toro and center Collin Smith who signed with the team in November.

“Justin is a straight-A student who is also a very talented athlete,” Lonergan said in a release. “He has great potential and because of his work ethic, we expect him to have a bright future at GW in the classroom where he will major in engineering, and on the court where he gives us a strong and athletic small forward. We are excited about the depth Justin gives us at the wing position.”

The 6-foot-3-inch Glen Burnie, Md. native transferred to AACS from Mount St. Joseph’s after his sophomore year and scored more than 1,100 points in his two seasons as an upperclassmen, leading his team in scoring with 18 points per game as a junior and 24 per game as a senior.

Williams also led AACS to two regular-season league titles and scored 41 points in the championship game as team captain his senior year to garner the Most Outstanding Player of the Independent School Tournament award.

The signing follows a flurry of departures from GW, as sophomores Paul Jorgensen, Anthony Swan and Matt Cimino all announced transfers earlier this offseason.

While the Colonials will now return just six players from last year’s roster, and two starters in rising redshirt senior Tyler Cavanaugh and junior Yuta Watanabe, Lonergan found depth and experience with the addition of Harvard transfer Patrick Steeves in late April, who has two years of eligibility remaining.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Harvard transfer Patrick Steeves has committed to the men’s basketball program according to a report from CBSSports’ Jon Rothstein Friday.

Steeves becomes the newest member of a Colonials team that finished its 2015-2016 season as NIT Champions. He joins the 2016-2017 squad that is returning starters sophomore Yuta Wantanabe and redshirt junior Tyler Cavanaugh.

The Montreal, Quebec native sat out his first three years with the Crimson due to recurring injuries to his foot and knee.

After graduating from Harvard this spring, Steeves will be able to join the Colonials immediately with two years of eligibility remaining.

As a 6-foot-7 forward, Steeves did not start this past season but was an important contributor at Harvard down the stretch and in conference games. He averaged 9.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists in his senior year.

Steeves’ 45.8 percent shooting from three-point range should prove useful for the Colonials after the loss of sharpshooter and fellow Ivy League transfer Alex Mitola.

 

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Sophomore guard Paul Jorgensen drives to the hoop in GW's victory over Saint Peter's. Jorgensen is set to transfer out of the men's basketball program this offseason. Ashley Le | Hatchet Photographer

Sophomore guard Paul Jorgensen drives to the hoop in GW’s victory over Saint Peter’s. Jorgensen is set to transfer out of the men’s basketball program this offseason. Ashley Le | Hatchet Photographer

Sophomore guard Paul Jorgensen will transfer out of the men’s basketball program, according to a tweet by CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein.

Jorgensen averaged 4.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game across 38 games played during the Colonials’ 2015-2016 NIT Championship campaign.

Sharing the GW’s sixth man spot with graduate student guard Alex Mitola, Jorgensen averaged 15.7 minutes per game, the most by any non-starter. His 81 total assists were the third-most on the team.

With the help of two former players, head coach Mike Lonergan recruited the 6-foot-2-inch guard into the program two years ago.

The New City, N.Y. native averaged 17.8 points per game in his senior season at Don Bosco Prep, and had already earned nicknames like “The Prince Harry of Harlem” and “White Jesus” on New York City’s street-ball courts before arriving at Foggy Bottom.

In his freshman year, Jorgensen averaged 3.6 points, 1.3 rebounds and 10.2 minutes in 35 games played.

Jorgensen’s departure opens up yet another spot on the 2016-2017 men’s basketball roster, as the team also loses Mitola and three seniors this offseason. The GW backcourt will return Yuta Watanabe, Matt Hart, Jordan Roland and junior Jaren Sina, a Seton Hall transfer who sat out this past season per NCAA rules.

  • Permalink
  • Comments