Morgan State basketball coach Todd Bozeman has been suspended indefinitely without pay after being involved in a physical altercation with one of his players during a victory at South Carolina State on Saturday night.
Bozeman is accused of punching senior guard Larry Bastfield during the game. The extent of the contact between Bozeman and Bastfield is being reviewed by officials of both schools.
“It’s definitely overblown,” Bozeman told The Associated Press on Monday. “I didn’t hit him.”
The coach insisted that he would never strike one of his athletes.
“I love my players,” Bozeman said. “I’m an emotional coach, but I don’t get physical with my players in that way. I hug them, I kiss them on the forehead.”
Bozeman has been asked by athletic director Floyd Kerr to separate himself from the team and avoid contact with his players, pending an investigation by the school.
“My attorney made numerous attempts to get them to wait until Tuesday before deciding to take any action,” Bozeman said. “The chose to do it now.”
Bozeman expects to meet with Kerr on Wednesday.
“I am confident when the facts come out, they will speak for themselves,” Bozeman said.
A school official said Kerr was not available to comment because he was out of town.
Bozeman will not coach the Bears on Monday night for their game at Savannah State.
“That’s OK. They’ll be fine,” he said.
The story was first reported by The (Baltimore) Sun.
The newspaper said South Carolina State University President George Cooper confronted Bozeman about the incident after the game and told him he was going to contact the authorities.
University spokeswoman Erica Taylor told the AP Monday that Cooper does not plan to talk publically about what he thinks happened at Saturday night’s game.
Bozeman has been coach at Morgan State since the start of the 2006-2007 season. He arrived after an eight-year ban for NCAA violations.
The Bears are 3-9, 1-0 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, after their 73-68 win on Saturday night.