Courtside

Your Guide to GW sports

Tag

Patrick Nero

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
Wednesday, July 6, 2016 2:16 p.m.

Browning named women’s tennis head coach

Torrie Browning has been named head coach of the women’s tennis program, athletic director Patrick Nero announced Wednesday.

Browning, who has served as interim head coach for both men’s and women’s teams since February, will look to improve a squad that finished 8-14 overall and 4-5 in A-10 play last season.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected as the head coach of GW’s women’s tennis program,” Browning said in a release. “I would really like to thank Patrick Nero and Nicole Early for giving me this amazing opportunity. The team has great potential, and I am extremely excited to continue working with the women’s team.”

The former four-time Missouri Valley All-Conference selection at Wichita State helped lead the men’s program to its third consecutive Atlantic 10 title, and fifth in six years, last spring to earn the conference’s Coach of the Year award.

The women’s side upset No. 2 seed Massachusetts as a No. 7 seed in last year’s A-10 tournament under Browning, before bowing out in the semifinal round.

Eight-student athletes across both teams also earned All-Conference honors in 2016 with Browning at the helm.

“Torrie has proven her ability to lead GW tennis to success,” Nero said. “We are confident that she will continue to shape GW women’s tennis into one of the top programs in the conference as head coach.”

A new head coach for the men’s tennis program has yet to be announced.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015 1:44 p.m.

Men’s basketball season schedule released

Then-junior Joe McDonald plays in front of an ESPN banner during a game last season. The Colonials will host three, and play in four, games broadcast on ESPN Networks this season. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Then-junior Joe McDonald plays in front of an ESPN banner during a game last season. The Colonials will host three, and play in four, games broadcast on ESPN Networks this season. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

The men’s basketball season officially begins in 70 days. Now, fans know exactly what they’ll be watching.

The Colonials’ full schedule was released Thursday following the release of the Atlantic 10 Conference’s men’s basketball schedule. Television broadcast information was also released, and GW will play a minimum of 17 games on national television, the most in program history.

“We are seeing the continued trend of widespread, and hard earned, increased national and international exposure for GW, our men’s basketball program, and GW Athletics,” athletic director Patrick Nero said in a release. “Our team has worked tirelessly to prepare for this season, and our students and fans have shown that there is no better atmosphere for college basketball than a sold-out Smith Center. We are excited to continue to show a global audience the best that GW has to offer.”

When the season schedule was announced last year, the Colonials were slated for at least 14 nationally televised games. They wound up playing four more in the A-10 Tournament and NIT. The team has had more games broadcast on national television each year since none were in 2010-11.

The Colonials will begin the A-10 season on Jan. 3 at home against Fordham. Of GW’s 18 conference games, 14 will be on national television. The average A-10 men’s basketball team will play just over 12 games on national television throughout the regular season, or 107 total, an A-10 record.

GW never has more than two consecutive road games, though they play up to four in a row at home. The Colonials play Seton Hall, Penn State, Rutgers and Saint Peters from Dec. 2-19, all in the Smith Center.

When the team visits DePaul on Dec. 22, it will be just their second true away game of the season.

The most difficult stretch for the team last season came in February, a month which included a four-game losing streak. This year the hardest section is bumped up slightly: between Jan. 15 and Feb. 6 GW plays home games against Rhode Island, Richmond and Davidson and away games at Dayton, George Mason and VCU.

“After back-to-back postseason appearances and consecutive 20-plus win seasons, we feel as though this group is our strongest yet,” head coach Mike Lonergan said in a release. “We are excited to show our students, fans, alumni and recruits all of the hard work that we’ve put in, and the maturation of this team with a goal of accomplishing some special things all season and especially in March.”

The non-conference schedule was released in July, slating the season-opener for Nov. 13 against Lafayette after a Nov. 7 exhibition game against Gannon.

Full schedule and television information is available here.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Athletic director Patrick Nero enjoys the watch party for the Women's NCAA Tournament selection show in March. Nero has said that building an active donor base for sports at GW will be critical for continued growth in athletics. Hatchet File Photo.

Athletic director Patrick Nero enjoys the watch party for the Women’s NCAA Tournament selection show in March. Nero has said that building an active donor base for sports at GW will be critical for continued growth in athletics. Hatchet File Photo.

The athletic department saw an 11.4 percent increase in donations over the past fiscal year, the department announced Wednesday.

The Buff and Blue Fund, which supports athletics in general at GW, received support from over 1,500 donors for the first time since its creation in 2012. Total donations increased by 171 percent over the past year.

“We take pride in being a part of our student-athletes’ journeys to achieve at the highest levels in their chosen sport and in their studies, and we recognize that Buff and Blue Fund donors are the driving force behind our success in helping them to fulfill their dreams,” athletic director Patrick Nero said in a release.

A handful of major donors helped bolster the funds success. Trustee Ave Tucker dedicated $1 million of a $2 million gift to the athletic department, and the Board of Trustees in turn voted to name the baseball field after him. Alumnus Gil Cisneros helped spur the Buff and Blue Fund Challenge which took place from early January through early April, donating $10,000 for every 100 gifts made during that period.

Philanthropy has been tabbed as a critical source of revenue for the athletic department to continue to grow, as it has, despite plateauing levels of support from the University.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Could Georgetown-GW happen at long last?

Well, maybe. The D.C. Council will host a roundtable Thursday to discuss whether the group should support the creation of a “Big 6” college basketball tournament in the District featuring GW, Georgetown, American, Maryland, George Mason and Howard.

The roundtable will be held at 2:45 p.m. and discuss the legislation proposed by Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans, who represents Foggy Bottom.

His proposal cited the existence of a similar style event in Philadelphia and the possibility of restructuring the BB&T Classic to pit local schools against each other, which would likely increase attendance and excitement around the event. Both GW and Georgetown competed in the BB&T Classic last season, but did not play each other.

The Colonials already play Atlantic 10 foe George Mason regularly, but have not suited up against the Hoyas since 1982. Athletic director Patrick Nero and men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan have expressed interest in scheduling a game against Georgetown.

Evans’ bill, if adopted, would ask Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office to form a “D.C. Big 6 Working Group” within 30 days to explore the creation of the event.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Freshman Yuta Watanabe and junior Kevin Larsen on a visit to the White House to watch the arrival ceremony for Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan. Watanabe was invited as a sports ambassador between the U.S. and Japan. Hatchet File Photo

Freshman Yuta Watanabe and junior Kevin Larsen on a visit to the White House to watch the arrival ceremony for Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan. Watanabe was invited as a sports ambassador between the U.S. and Japan. Hatchet File Photo

The men’s basketball team is planning a trip to Japan sometime during the 2016 summer, athletic director Patrick Nero told The Japan Times on Monday.

Nero is currently in Japan with men’s basketball head coach Mike Lonergan to explore potential exhibition game opponents for the squad, which last toured internationally in 2012 when the team went to Italy.

The Colonials are allowed one foreign trip every four years according to NCAA regulations. The trip would give Japanese star Yuta Watanabe, who will finish his sophomore year before next summer, a chance to play with GW in front of fans at home. Watanabe is from Kagawa, Japan.

Nero told The Japan Times that sports business students could also join the team on the trip and would use it as an educational opportunity to study sports administration and get a taste of Japanese culture.

The details of the tour have yet to be ironed out, but Nero said it would likely take place in August but could also happen in June. The destinations would likely be Tokyo and Okinawa, with stops for games, cultural sites and volunteer work. The men’s team held a basketball clinic for children when it toured Italy, and the women’s basketball team did the same on a tour of England and France last summer.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Professor Pato helps co-host Brian Mojica learn spanish at the fourth annual Georgey Awards. Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor.

Professor Pato helps co-hose Brian Mojica learn spanish at the fourth annual Georgey Awards. Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Alex Kist.

GW athletes shed their uniforms for suits and dresses Thursday night at the fourth annual Georgey Awards in Lisner Auditorium.

The ceremony celebrated the year in GW sports and athletes, teams and coaches received awards for their achievements in athletics, academics and community service.

Throughout the night, many athletes were recognized for their performances this season. To kick things off, baseball’s Robbie Metz was awarded the male Rookie of the Year award and gymnast Cami Drouin-Allaire was named female Rookie of the Year.

The athletic department also celebrated accomplishments off the field, as senior John Kopriva earned the men’s Red Auerbach Award, given to the student athlete who best embodies balancing success in sports, school, leadership and community service.

“First Georgey, so that’s special,” Kopriva said. “All-around award, it’s something that I pride myself in, being more than just basketball, more than just books, more than just community, I try to be part of it all.”

Softball’s Maura Murphy and men’s soccer’s Luke Farrell received awards for Best Female and Male Athlete in a Supporting Role, respectively. The Dan Black Award was awarded to Jacqui Stevens, who recovered from a pair of ACL tears, and Craig LeJeune, who had Tommy John surgery last year, took the male award in the respective category.

Athletes Carlee Gray, Patricio Garino, Chidima Osuchukwu and Brian Mojica as the hosts of the night also added some comedic relief, as Gray and Mojica entered a lip sync battle, ending with Mojica serenading the audience with Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”.

Gymnastics head coach Margie Foster-Cunningham won the Distinguished Service Award after giving 30 years of service to the her GW team. Men’s rowing’s Marc Hisarli and sailing’s Gabriella Malek won the Raise High Our Community Award for community service, and the gymnastics team took home the Raise High Our Community Team award.

In the closing moments of the night, Joe McDonald took home Moment of the Year after his game winning put back in overtime to beat Dayton, and Gymnastics and Women’s Basketball shared Co-Team of the Year Award after stellar seasons. Tennis senior Fransico Dias took home Male Player of the Year and women’s basketball junior Jonquel Jones received Female Player of the Year.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” Dias said. “I got one my freshman year as the Rookie of the Year and now I get one my senior year as Male Performer, and I couldn’t have done it without all the help from our athletic department, the leadership from Patrick Nero, the academic support, but mostly to the chemistry that I have with my teammates.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Freshman Yuta Watanabe and junior Kevin Larsen visited the White House on Tuesday. Watanabe was invited as a sports ambassador between the U.S. and Japan. Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor.

Freshman Yuta Watanabe and junior Kevin Larsen visited the White House on Tuesday. Watanabe was invited as a sports ambassador between the U.S. and Japan. Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor.

While the Smith Center added a Japanese flag to its collection months ago, hundreds of flags have been popping up along the streets surrounding the White House in preparation for the official visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, which began Tuesday.

Men’s basketball freshman Yuta Watanabe was invited to the official arrival ceremony on the White House South Lawn Tuesday morning, along with teammate Kevin Larsen, head coach Mike Lonergan and athletic director Patrick Nero. Watanabe also attended a lunch at the State Department Tuesday afternoon.

“It was a special experience,” Watanabe said. “Not every person can go inside so that was good for me.”

At the welcoming ceremony, President Barack Obama thanked the visiting prime minister for all that Japan has given the American people, emojis and karaoke included, and said he was excited to discuss the strengthening of the relationship between the two countries.

“This visit is a celebration of the tides of friendship and family that bind our peoples,” Obama said.

Abe also delivered a speech, and Watanabe, who is from Kagawa, Japan and is the fourth-ever Japanese native to play Division I basketball, looked on with the throng of spectators gathered on the sunny morning.

Watanabe and Larsen took a moment following the ceremony to snap some selfies, including one where Larsen tried to plant a kiss on Watanabe’s cheek.

“He didn’t, but he tried,” Watanabe said.

Watanabe said the lunch, which was hosted by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry, was the highlight of his day. He said he enjoyed his meal of fish and salad and got the chance to talk to other Japanese citizens.

Lonergan said that his favorite part of the day was getting to spend the beautiful morning outside, and to see Watanabe and Larsen excited along with the other spectators. After the ceremony, he chuckled that the team will have to win an NCAA Tournament so that they can go back to the White House.

“To see people from Japan and to see how excited they were in line to see their prime minister on American soil,” Lonergan said, “To see the joy in everyone’s faces, especially with what’s going on in Baltimore now, I think this is a great country but it’s good to see some happy faces instead of seeing some bad things on the news.”

President Obama, Michele Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe wave goodbye to a crowd, before entering the White House. Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor.

President Obama, Michele Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe wave goodbye to a crowd before entering the White House. Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor.

  • Permalink
  • Comments