Mike Lonergan fired as George Washington coach

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

George Washington has fired men's basketball coach Mike Lonergan, the university announced Saturday.

"The university recently conducted a thorough investigation into allegations concerning Coach Lonergan," university provost Forrest Maltzman said in a statement. "The university concluded that Coach Lonergan had engaged in conduct inconsistent with the university's values."

The university opened an investigation into allegations Lonergan was verbally and emotionally abusive to his players two months ago. George Washington brought in outside counsel as part of the investigation, saying it was "undertaking a Title IX review" but that "some of the reported allegations go beyond the scope of Title IX."

"The university has created and is committed to maintaining a community where all students, faculty and staff feel welcome and comfortable," Maltzman said in the statement. "We value inclusion and diversity and will not tolerate conduct that runs counter to those principles."

As of Saturday morning, multiple coaches on the staff and the players had not been informed by the school of Lonergan's firing, a source told ESPN.

Maltzman said the school would announce an interim coach soon.If the Colonials keep the interim job in house, the favorite would be associate head coach Hajj Turner, according to a source.

In a report by The Washington Post in July, multiple former players and staff members said Lonergan, 50, routinely abused his players verbally and emotionally in his assessments and critiques of them, creating an offensive environment and causing many of them to leave the program as a result.

According to The Post, Lonergan told one athlete he belonged in a "transgender league" and suggested that another's son would forever rely on public assistance.

One former player, according to The Post, said he needed therapy to cope after his time playing for Lonergan.

Lonergan's attorney, Scott Tompsett, denied the allegations, telling ESPN in July that the Post article was "full of lies and half-truths."

USA Today was first to report news of Lonergan's firing Friday.

The move left members of the George Washington staff in shock, sources told ESPN's Andy Katz.

According to the sources, the team -- which has eight new players, including seven freshmen -- and staff had developed great chemistry during a summer trip to Japan and were excited about the upperclassmen leadership for the season.

A source told ESPN that Lonergan left campus at midday Friday and didn't tell anyone why. George Washington had a recruit on campus for an official visit Friday and Lonergan unexpectedly didn't show up for dinner with him, a source said.

Lonergan led the program to the NCAA tournament in 2014 and the NIT championship last season.Thirteen players transferred from George Washington in Lonergan's five-year tenure.

Information from ESPN's Jeff Goodman, Jeff Borzello and Myron Medcalf was used in this report.