With coach Michael Hunt and without sophomore guard Tamir Goodman, the Towson University men's basketball team is trying to move forward following a week of turmoil.
The disruption began when Goodman filed a complaint to the university's police department against his coach because of a locker room incident after the Tigers' win over Morgan State last Saturday. It ended on Thursday with Goodman leaving the team but maintaining his scholarship through the spring semester, and the school finding no need to reprimand Hunt.
Now, the first-year coach just wants to look forward to his Tigers' next game: Dec. 20 vs. Howard at MCI Center.
"This situation over the past week is not going to prevent me from doing the job I was hired to do and that's getting our program better," said Hunt, who spent 15 seasons as an assistant coach, including four at Towson under Terry Truax. "We suffered through five consecutive losing seasons. I was hired to right the ship and I'm working hard every day to do that, so I'm going to continue to do that."
Goodman had claimed Hunt held a chair over his head in a threatening manner and then later kicked a stool that hit the player in the shin. Goodman wasn't hurt.
The complaint reached the Baltimore County State's Attorney's office on Monday, but was dropped the next day by the Goodman family. Towson's athletic department then conducted a two-day internal review and opted to honor Goodman's scholarship through the spring semester and keep Hunt as coach with no punishment. Goodman plans to transfer.
Said Towson athletic director, Dr. Wayne Edwards: "I feel that I reviewed this very thoroughly and I think we know what happened and the end result is as we have it: Tamir was never suspended or terminated from the basketball program - he did not have to leave. He indicated that he would not play for Coach Hunt and everything indicated that there was no reason Coach Hunt shouldn't be here."
Hunt said he broke one of the team rules, "which is to never embarrass yourself, your team, your university or your family," adding that he apologized to his team and family. But he wouldn't comment on details of Goodman's allegations, instead citing the end result.
"I'm not going to comment on any of that," he said. "I think our police department did a thorough job in the investigation and if there was something to that nature that I did in that room in front of all the witnesses that were there, you best believe I wouldn't be the basketball coach at Towson and would probably be out of the coaching business."
Karl Goodman, Tamir's father, said: "The Hunt situation will work out between him and the university. What we hope is maybe it will toughen up Tamir a little bit and soften up Hunt a little bit."
Towson has asked its players not to comment on the matter.
Hunt said he feels comfortable where he stands with his players as everyone tries to move on.
"The guys know me. We've spent a lot of time getting to know each other during my six months as coach here," he said. "They know the type of person I am, they know how I feel about them. They know that I would never do anything to hurt any of them.
"But at the same time, I'm going to expect them to do the right thing, go to class, continue to progress toward a degree and work hard every time you're out on the basketball court."
After a sluggish performance in a 93-78 loss to UMES on Tuesday, followed by a no-practice day on Wednesday because of final exams, the Tigers practiced Thursday and yesterday, and Hunt said his group is upbeat.
"I think they're resilient," he said. "We talk a lot about keeping our focus and I expect them to continue to stay focused as we go forward this next week to get ready for Howard."