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Morehead State suspends head coach Sean Woods one game for sideline conduct

Nov 23, 2012, 1:15 PM EDT

Sean Woods

After reviewing head coach Sean Woods’ behavior in the second half of Morehead State’s 81-70 loss at No. 8 Kentucky on Wednesday night, the school has made the decision to suspend the first-year head coach for one game.

Woods, who was the head coach at Mississippi Valley State for four years before replacing Donnie Tyndall at Morehead State, will miss the Eagles’ home game against Norfolk State on Monday night.

Morehead State athletics director Brian Hutchinson made the following statement in regards to the decision to suspend Woods:

“Six months ago, we conducted a national search to identify the next coach, who, building on a foundation of rich men’s basketball history, would lead the Morehead State Eagles into the next era.  Sean Woods, who had excelled as a student-athlete and recently led a relatively unknown program to the national stage, was selected and enthusiastically accepted that challenge.  We were and remain excited about our choice.

“On Wednesday night, Morehead State took on the University of Kentucky in a hotly-contested and emotionally-charged contest at Rupp Arena.  A lot was on the line for our team and they executed an aggressive, exciting style of play, one that our fans have witnessed throughout the initial stages of this season.

“We recognize that the young men in our basketball program are students first and athletes second.  It is our expectation that our coaches are first teachers, who reflect the core values of the university which includes valuing the individual and treating people with respect.  Near the end of the game, Coach Woods’ interaction with one of our student-athletes fell short of that value and was unacceptable.

“We believe Coach Woods, while remorseful, is not above reproach.  Therefore, he will be suspended for Monday night’s game against Norfolk State.  This will allow Coach Woods to consider his action and behavior, and allow him time to contemplate the appropriate way to conduct himself with his players and on the sideline.

“As we move beyond this incident, our focus will be on the continued development of each student-athlete and of a team capable of contending for an Ohio Valley Conference championship.  This will be accomplished in an environment characterized by hard work, constructive criticism and mutual respect.”

Woods also issued a short statement on the matter, expressing his remorse with regards to the behavior directed towards point guard Devon Atkinson after Atkinson committed his fifth foul with 5:51 remaining.

“My behavior during Wednesday night’s game was inappropriate and unacceptable.  I am truly sorry.

“I value the opportunity I have been given as the head men’s basketball coach at Morehead State.  I am passionate about the young men on our team and the opportunities we have together.  I care for them deeply.

“I can assure our student-athletes, university community, alumni and fans that anything approaching this type of situation will not happen again.”

Given the reactions to Woods’ behavior, be it from the fans at Rupp Arena and television announcers who fell uncomfortably silent during the episode or the many columns written, the school had to address the situation.

While some coaches are fiery there is a line, and this is the second time this season Woods’ interaction with a player has garnered attention (his screaming at Drew Kelly during a 67-45 loss at Maryland on November 12). By making this move hopefully Morehead State and Woods won’t have to travel down this road again.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

  1. clevelandschronic2 - Nov 23, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Should be longer if not fire him. Pushing that kid around like that is unacceptable. Yelling at him was enough but practically throwing the kid was over the top. I dont know if i would’ve been able to not push him back or more if i was in that position.

  2. moagecu - Nov 23, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    suspended for a light push? America needs to stop acting like a bunch of p*ssies.

  3. totallyuselessme - Nov 23, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    From the perspective of the Athletics Department and the guys up top at Morehead, I imagine this has already stung and will continue to for a bit. Morehead’s got a decent basketball program, but they’re nothing that really stands out, and they’re never in the news.

    Sad fact is that this is what they (and Woods in particular) will be known for, for the foreseeable future. If you’re a prospect and your parents or your friends or even an ad wherever they put’em brings Morehead State to mind, you’re not gonna think of anything regarding the university itself, nor the basketball program as it relates to basketball.

    You’re just gonna remember this grown man throwing a tantrum and flying off the handle at the side of a basketball court because one of his student-athletes made a mistake… and you’re gonna remember him going on and on and not letting up and pounding this poor kid into the ground, humiliating him ceaselessly for a time that just went on and on and on in front of an arena full of people and a national television audience.

    And then you’re gonna go pick up a different brochure. If you’re a basketball player, doubly so. Would you wanna play for this guy?

  4. dko83 - Nov 23, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    You’re a grown man coaching teenagers. He should be ashamed. As a ‘all things KY basketball homer,’ this sickens me. Morehead St. is a great school with a beautiful campus, too bad all that goes to the back of people’s minds now because this A-hole can’t control his emotions.

  5. cranespy - Nov 24, 2012 at 2:46 AM

    Woods handles himself like your typical maniacal egomaniac. The only other coach with near the INability to harness his emotions like this has successfully overcome his reputation as a hothead by becoming the premier college basketball analyst in America….Bob Knight. Something tells me this is not the case with Sean Woods. While our public schools across the nation work feverishly to eradicate bullies from our classrooms Morehead State is paying this guy as a head coach for doing exactly what we are trying unsuccessfully to eliminate. It is just a matter of time before this happens again….this guy has ZERO BUSINESS coaching basketball….it will not end well….look for him trying to resurrect his brief career on the AAU circuit as it’s obvious how this is gonna end.

  6. allen227 - Nov 25, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    He needs his a$$ whipped

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