Monday, September 28, 2009
Locksley reprimanded by UNM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- New Mexico Lobos head coach Mike Locksley has been reprimanded for a fight involving an assistant coach, who told police Locksley struck him and split his lip.
Athletic director Paul Krebs said at a news conference Monday that Locksley was issued "a verbal reprimand" with a follow-up letter placed in his personnel file after the Sept. 20 altercation.
According to a police report, receivers coach J.B. Gerald said the fight occurred during a "heated" coaches meeting.
Locksley became angry, grabbed Gerald by the collar and punched him as other coaches tried to intervene.
Krebs said it's not unusual in college football for coaches to have "heated discussions" during staff meetings but said, "This one crossed the line." However, he also expressed steadfast support for Locksley, whom he hired after last season.
"I do not believe this is a reflection of his dealings. It's not a reflection of his character. This does not shake my faith in his leadership whatsoever," Krebs told reporters.
Locksley didn't attend the news conference but issued a statement in which he acknowledged the incident. He said he apologized to Gerald, to the coaching staff and to the team.
"I would also like to apologize to Lobo fans," Locksley said. "Like I remind our players, when mistakes are made, you acknowledge them and deal with the consequences."
Gerald told police he didn't want to file charges.
Krebs considers the matter resolved, although he said he doesn't condone what Locksley did. He blamed it on the stress of coaching and said it was probably worsened by New Mexico's winless start.
"You cannot put your hand on another coach," Krebs said. "You cannot have any kind of physical altercation."
It was another round of unwanted publicity for Locksley.
The first-year coach is accused of sexual harassment, age discrimination and retaliation in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint filed last spring by a former football administrative assistant.
Krebs said that case is "close to resolution" but wouldn't discuss details.
Meanwhile, New Mexico (0-4) is struggling on the field under Locksley, who was offensive coordinator at Illinois the past four seasons.
The fight occurred one day after Air Force beat the Lobos. Last weekend, New Mexico lost to rival New Mexico State for the first time since 2002. Next comes a trip to Texas Tech on Saturday.
"We're all frustrated with our start," Krebs said.
Krebs was asked what kind of behavior would result in a suspension for the coach. He responded that he wasn't intimately familiar with the university's personnel rules and defended his decision to reprimand Locksley.
"Based on what I know, I thought it was an appropriate penalty," Krebs said.
Gerald wasn't with the team in practice last week before the New Mexico State loss. Krebs said the assistant coach has been placed on paid leave but can rejoin the Lobos whenever he's ready.
"We would welcome J.B. back to the program," Krebs said.