Bozeman to reply to minor assault

Morgan State coach charged in Va. after argument over meal

February 06, 2007|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun reporter

DOVER, Del. -- Morgan State men's basketball coach Todd Bozeman will return to Farmville, Va., this week to respond to misdemeanor assault charges after an argument there Saturday about a post-game meal.

"I'm confident that the facts, when they come out, the record will be set straight. That's all that I can say," Bozeman said before last night's 54-40 upset of Delaware State.

In an incident first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Farmville police were called to Mulligan's restaurant near Longwood University, west of Richmond, where the Bears had lost a nonconference game.

In the aftermath, Bozeman was charged with assault and battery, a first-class misdemeanor, and curse and abuse, a third-class misdemeanor.

"These charges are not filed by the police department," said Sgt. Pam Wilson of the Farmville Police Department, "but by the individual the incident supposedly happened to.

"I've been told by our commonwealth attorney, the attorney for Prince Edward County, that he [Bozeman] is going to turn himself in later this week."

Bozeman confirmed those plans after last night's game.

"I'm going to go down there and take care of it," he said.

Stephanie Shreck, a Mulligan's employee involved in the alleged incident, did not return a request for a comment by The Sun.

Carlos Holland, the manager of the restaurant, told The Sun that Bozeman reacted angrily after Morgan State's order for 52 Philly cheese steak or chicken sandwiches, which was made by an assistant coach, was not filled to his specifications.

"I told him that we couldn't accommodate that order," said Holland, who could not identify the assistant coach. "He told us to make what we could. I took the order to Longwood. ... I personally delivered it to the assistant coach at the bus. People were exiting the game, and I was two or three minutes late. I guess he [Bozeman] was upset about that."

Some of the sandwiches included ham, which would violate the religious beliefs of some Morgan State players.

Holland said that 10 to 15 minutes after making the delivery, Bozeman entered his restaurant, used a string of profanities and placed his hands on Shreck.

"I didn't see it," Holland said, "but she told me that he [Bozeman] shoved her out of the way, and said he wanted his [expletive] money back. We had a crowd gather. This is not the kind of publicity we want."

After Bozeman was given a refund, he boarded the Morgan State bus and returned to Baltimore.

Athletic director Floyd Kerr said he had been instructed not to comment and directed inquiries to Morgan State spokesman Clint Coleman, who said: "We believe that this whole incident appears to have grown out of a terrible misunderstanding, and, of course, we regret that it occurred. We are taking a wait-and-see approach to this."

Bozeman had been out of the college game for a decade after being fired by the University of California in 1996 for payments that violated NCAA rules.

Saturday's incident occurred after Longwood beat the Bears, 75-73, on a last-second shot.

Last night, the Bears scored their fifth straight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory and their biggest in several years. Delaware State (12-11, 9-2) had won 22 straight MEAC home games, but it could not keep up with Morgan State (9-12, 7-3).

"We had a setback at Longwood; we might have gotten too cocky," Bozeman said. "I wasn't worried that I was going to be a distraction. Delaware State is the benchmark for the league, so this is a real good win."

Ron Timus, a graduate student who is the Bears' leading scorer, said it was the best Morgan State had experienced in his five years there.

"We were playing for him [Bozeman] tonight," Timus said. "We found out he was going to coach when we got on the bus."

Timus had 11 points and six rebounds. Guards Joe McLean and Jamar Smith had 12 points apiece, and center Boubacar Coly had a game-high eight rebounds. The Bears made 56.1 percent of their shots, and the Hornets hit 28.6.

Morgan State never trailed, as it took a 23-18 cushion at the half and led by 18 at one point.

It was the fewest points by Delaware State in a MEAC game since a loss at Coppin State three seasons ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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