George Washington coach Mike Lonergan is described as “verbally and emotionally” abusive in a Washington Post report released Thursday.
Former and current players and staff members spoke to the Post on condition of anonymity, and described a culture in which Lonergan is largely disliked by his players.
“A lot of kids transfer because they have delusions of grandeur,” a one former member of the GW staff said. “Nobody transferred from GW with delusions of grandeur. They just transferred because they hated [Lonergan]. They couldn’t stand another second of him.”
In Lonergan’s five years as coach, 13 players have transferred from GW. In April, one of Lonergan’s players filed a Title IX complaint against him with a school administrator.
The school had already addressed Lonergan’s behavior with him once before the complaint, according to the report.
Players accused Lonergan of making overly harsh comments, including telling a player his son would “always be on food stamps,” or telling another he should transfer to a transgender league.
Lonergan was also accused of bad-mouthing athletic director Patrick Nero.
“I don’t think the guy should be in sports,” a former player told the Post. “I don’t think what he said should be tolerated. I would like to stay at GW. I will not play for Mike Lonergan.”
Former player Isaiah Armwood called the story “ridiculous” on Twitter. (Warning: Strong language)
Idk about the other parts of the article referring to the AD Patrick Nero, he was always good AD in my eyes but as far as players saying— Isaiah Armwood (@Zeek_Armwood) July 21, 2016
Lonergan verbally and emotionally abused them. Go find another sport. It's called MENS basketball.— Isaiah Armwood (@Zeek_Armwood) July 21, 2016
I was under Lonergan for 3 years. We bumped heads often, but this story is ridiculous.— Isaiah Armwood (@Zeek_Armwood) July 21, 2016
Lonergan, who reportedly met with the players to determine who spoke to the Post, denied the accusations in a statement.
“I will not respond to anonymous, unfounded allegations,” Lonergan said. “These types of accusations have already been investigated by the University and found to be groundless.
“Those who know me know that I conduct myself and run my program with integrity. I have a long record of graduating student-athletes who go on to be successful in life. I am proud of my student-athletes’ success on the court and in the classroom, and I am focused on preparing for the upcoming season.”
You can read the full story here.