Morgan State reinstates men's basketball coach Todd Bozeman

January 19, 2012|By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun

More than a week after being placed on paid administrative leave following an on-court confrontation with one of his own players, Morgan State men's basketball coach Todd Bozeman was reinstated Thursday night, a school spokesman said.

Bozeman will return to sideline for his team's home game Saturday against North Carolina A&T.

Clinton Coleman, a spokesman for Morgan State president David Wilson, said in an interview that "results of the investigation were inconclusive" looking into the incident that led to Bozeman's suspension.

"We look forward to having Coach Bozeman back at practice Friday and on the bench on Saturday," Coleman said.

When reached by telephone Thursday night, Bozeman said "I'm happy to be back with my guys" but he declined to discuss the incident or the fact that the school did not find him at fault.

Bozeman's attorney was not as diplomatic.

"He should never have been suspended before the investigation was completed," said Ricky Lefft, Bozeman's South Carolina-based attorney. "If the findings were inconclusive, a suspension was not appropriate. They punished him and damaged his reputation irreparably."

The decision to reinstate  the 48-year-old coach was made the day after Bozeman met with Wilson.

Bozeman was suspended Jan. 8, the day after his team's road victory at South Carolina State was marred by what Bozeman called "accidental contact" with senior guard Larry Bastfield during a timeout late in the game. Though Bastfield said later that Bozeman inadvertently bumped him in the chest as he came to the bench, South Carolina State president George E. Cooper accused Bozeman of punching the player in the face.

Cooper's accusation, which he made to Bozeman immediately after the game, led to South Carolina State campus police asking Bastfield if he wanted to press charges against his coach. It later resulted in an investigation by a three-person committee at Morgan State. The committee interviewed Bozeman and Bastfield separately on Jan. 11. It also talked with South Carolina State athletic director Charlene Johnson.

The day after the incident at South Carolina State, Bozeman was told by Morgan State athletic director Floyd Kerr to separate himself from the team. The Bears were in the middle of a two-game road trip and lost at Savannah State on a last-second dunk the next night.

Morgan State, which started the season 0-7, was 1-2 without Bozeman and is now 4-11.

don.markus@baltsun.com

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.