WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Just weeks before the start of the women’s basketball season, Georgetown University has suspended coach Keith Brown and assistant coach Tim Valentine amid allegations that their tactics verge on abusive.
The revelation that the two coaches have been placed on administrative leave has many at the school concerned, especially because there are allegations that the reason is due to inappropriate language towards their players.
Now, some of Brown's players are coming to his defense.
ABC7 News has learned from multiple sources that a member of the women’s team attempted to take her own life a few days prior to the coaches being suspended. And while there is nothing to indicate a connection between the two events, the news is startling to those on campus.
Multiple sources familiar with the team allege that Brown frequently teaches through intimidation and humiliation to the point that it has demoralized some of his players.
However, late Tuesday night only moments before ABC7 broke this story, five active players approached us saying that they fully support the coaches.
"I think he's a great coach. I don't want to play with anybody else," said sophomore Hoyas guard Katie McCormick.
Four out of five of the players who spoke with us are freshmen who haven’t had much exposure to Coach Brown. They admit he swears at them when they make a mistake and that he is very demanding – but they say they don’t take it personally.
"If you take what he says to heart, then it's going to hurt your feelings," said freshman forward Shayla Cooper. "But we're all D1 players in the Big East Conference, so a coach is not going to babysit us no more."
"Brown is going to get the best out of us and he is going to push us, and if you can't handle it, you can't handle it," added freshman guard Jade Martin.
After repeated questions about the situation with the coach, Georgetown issued the following statement:
Two weeks ago, concerns were raised regarding unprofessional conduct and the use of inappropriate language in coaching the Georgetown University women’s basketball team. Georgetown takes very seriously any allegations of misconduct and the university has an established review process that carefully investigates such cases.
As soon as we learned of this, the university immediately started an investigation into the conduct. We are taking steps to ensure this investigation proceeds expeditiously, thoroughly and fairly. It is important to the investigation for students, coaches, and staff to participate openly and honestly, and we have encouraged them to do so.
The investigation is ongoing and no conclusions have yet been reached. As is typical with these types of investigations, as we conduct this investigation, head coach Keith Brown and Assistant Coach Tim Valentine are on administrative leave.
Georgetown University expects the highest standards of ethics, integrity and professionalism from all members of its community.
In June, 2013 the Georgetown University Athletics Department adopted a new policy, “Maintaining a Respectful and Professional Relationships with Student Athletes. In addition, members of the Georgetown Athletics Department attended mandatory training sessions led by University leadership and outside counsel to ensure understanding of the new policy and to discuss issues relating to appropriate behavior between coaches, trainers and student athletes.
Practice and conditioning for the team will continue during this investigation. Coaching responsibilities are being handled by the assistant coaches.
“I think a lot of this is blown out of proportion. It’s unnecessary, to be honest,” said McCormick. “We just want to play. That is all we want to do and we want our coach back."