"I never taunted, harassed or abused this young man," said Patsos.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Flanked by two former managers and a senior manager, Siena men's basketball coach Jimmy Patsos on Friday denied allegations he verbally abused a team student manager afflicted by an anxiety disorder and withheld per diem allowances from players and team aides.
''That's not true,'' said Patsos, who said he returned early from a trip to address allegations he called inaccurate. ''I never taunted, harassed or abused this young man. We did know that he had OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). He was adamant that he wanted to be treated the same as anyone else.''
Patsos said the manager received the same assignments and performed the same tasks as the other managers and was included in the bantering and teasing that normally occurs among staff and players.
The Albany Times Union reported that Patsos was being investigated by the school for the alleged verbal abuse and that questions had arisen over alleged withholding of per diem allowances for players and team aides.
School officials said in a statement Thursday evening an investigation had begun after ''the college received an allegation of discriminatory conduct'' and that its scope had since widened.
''Regarding the per diems, I have no knowledge about these reports,'' Patsos said, adding that the distribution and accounting of money was handled by his assistant coaches and the business manager. ''I'm not involved in this situation.''
The news conference was conducted at the office of Patsos' attorneys and not at the college. The coach said he was fully cooperating.
''I've complied completely,'' said Patsos, who took over at Siena prior to the 2013-14 season and has led the Saints to two 20-win seasons and two postseason appearances.
Dick Walsh, an attorney representing Patsos, said the investigation likely would be completed within a month.
''We are ready to start basketball. That's what hopefully will happen next,'' Walsh said. ''But they've got to go forward to see if there are going to be charges brought or not. If they are, we are going to defend against them.''
Siena finished 2017-18 at 8-24, its third straight losing season, and tied the school record for losses in a season. Patsos received the support of athletic director John D'Argenio during the season.
Patsos is 77-92 in five seasons with the Saints and is under contract through the 2020-21 season. Before that, he spent nine years at Loyola of Maryland.