Florida softball coach apologizes after postgame tussle with Auburn player
An unusual scene unfolded after Monday night’s Auburn-Florida softball game when Tigers senior Haley Fagan and Florida coach Tim Walton got in a shoving match.
The incident occurred in the postgame handshake line after Auburn’s 1–0 win. Fagan walked by Walton with her arms at her sides and Walton appeared to shove her as she went by. Fagan responded by pushing Walton right back.
The two then exchanged words and Walton appeared to say “I didn’t hit you. No I didn’t.” Fagan was then restrained by her teammates.
Walton later apologized for his actions.
"My intent was to give a high-five to each opposing player as we do after every game," Walton said in a statement. "Apparently, her hand wasn't up as I said 'good game' and I touched her shoulder. I should have paid close attention and did not intend to upset her.
"I regret that this has taken attention away from the effort and sportsmanship both teams displayed all weekend."
The backstory here is that Fagan’s two sisters, Kasey and Sami, played for Walton at Florida before the coach dismissed them from the team.
The two Fagan sisters and a third player, Cheyenne Coyle, were dismissed from the team just hours before an NCAA tournament game in 2012. Sami Fagan took to Facebook at the time to refute rumors that their dismissal was related to “racism or bullying.”
Their father, Kevin Fagan, told the Gainesville Sun that there was “an altercation on the team.”
“The team sort of divided and Walton felt like it was in his best interest to get rid of those three,” Fagan explained.
Sami transferred to Missouri, while Kasey went to Arkansas before becoming a graduate assistant at Auburn. Coyle is also a graduate assistant with the Tigers.
- Dan Gartland and Scooby Axson