George Washington University announced on Sept. 17 that it has fired controversial men’s basketball coach Mike Lonergan following an investigation triggered by a Washington Post expose in which players said Lonergan told them the G.W. athletic director, Patrick Nero, masturbated in his office while watching videos of the players practicing.
“Players said Lonergan shared his distaste for Nero in a manner both inappropriate and outlandish,” the Post reported in a July 21 story. “Five current and former players said Lonergan told players Nero requested the practice tapes so he could masturbate while viewing them in his office,” the Post story said.
“The players said Lonergan also told them Nero had engaged in a sexual relationship with a member of the team,” the story reported. “Players said they found those comments to be shocking and offensive, with no grounding in reality,” the Post reported.
Nero and university officials declined to comment on the Post’s revelations at the time the Post published its story. But Nero’s attorney, Debra Katz, who did not respond to a request by the Blade for comment, told the Post that Nero has always been a strong advocate for the welfare of student athletes.
“He will not be deterred from advocating for students by false and reprehensible remarks,” the Post quoted her as saying.
In addition to reporting on Lonergan’s reported remarks about Nero, the Post story reported that at least 13 men’s basketball players left the team and the university during the past five years because of what those who knew them said was bizarre and abusive behavior by Lonergan toward his players.
“The university recently conducted a thorough investigation into allegations concerning Coach Lonergan,” G.W. Provost Forrest Maltzman said in a statement released on Sept. 17. “The university concluded that Coach Lonergan had engaged in conduct inconsistent with the university’s values,” Maltzman said in his statement.