September 25, 2009
That's the story, anyway, as told by "several sources" to the Times Herald-Record. Army coach Jim Crews's firing this week was mysterious, weirdly timed and all-too-quiet. Crews has a poor record as the school's head basketball coach, but that sort of decision is usually made far sooner on the college basketball offseason calendar than September 23. Something seemed amiss. Perhaps we now know what that is:
Army men's basketball coach Jim Crews was fired earlier this week for allegedly physically and verbally abusing a player last season, several sources have confirmed to the Times Herald-Record. [...] Asked on Thursday if Crews had physically and verbally abused a player, Army athletic director Kevin Anderson said: “That is a personnel issue. I can't confirm or deny that. I can't answer that."
Several sources said that Crews physically abused the player, who may return to the team, last season. There were several incidents of verbal abuse reported by the player. An investigation by West Point followed and Anderson axed Crews in his office on Monday.
Physical and verbal abuse of a player is a big deal anywhere, but as MDS points out at FanHouse, the physical abuse is an even bigger deal in the Army, where putting your hands on a subordinate is a major protocol violation. And even if this weren't Army, touching a player in any manner is the sort of thing that can get a coach fired. Not to mention the lack of leeway given when that coach with a seven-season record of 60-139.
Of course, there's a possibility that Crews wasn't abusing a player. Maybe the sources are wrong. But if Army AD Kevin Anderson's statement is any indication, even if what Crews did wasn't abuse it was just as bad:
“There was a series of events that led me down the path to determine that I needed to make a change in leadership of the men’s basketball program and terminate coach Crews’ contract,” Anderson stated. “I am very disappointed with some things that have come to my attention in recent days and I have decided that it is in the best interests of the basketball program and the institution to terminate our relationship.”
Not exactly a vote of confidence or a wish for future success, huh? Crews did something to really anger Anderson, and all signs point to the Times Herald-Record's version of events. In which case: yikes.