George Washington has fired men’s basketball coach Mike Lonergan, sources with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed to ESPN’s Andy Katz on Friday night.
The decision comes two months after the university opened an investigation into allegations Lonergan was verbally and emotionally abusive to his players.
The university 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.”
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 on Friday.
The move left members of the George Washington staff in shock, sources told ESPN’s 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 also 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 Borzello and Myron Medcalf was used in this report.