Pete Carroll reacts to WSU abuse allegations
By Josh Kerns
The Pac-12 conference has agreed to investigate allegations of abusive behavior by Washington State University head coach Mike Leach and his staff made by former receiver Marquess Wilson. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll says coaches simply can’t lose control with their players.
Commissioner Larry Scott announced Monday the league would look into the claims at the request of university officials, two days after Wilson quit the team alleging verbal and physical abuse by Leach and his staff.
Wilson says Leach and his staff “preferred to belittle, intimidate and humiliate us,” including physical abuse.
In an interview with “Brock and Salk” on Monday, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who was formerly head coach at USC, says while he doesn’t know details of the WSU allegations, he does understand how coaches can get too emotional.
“It’s an extraordinarily emotional game we’re involved with, and there’s times when your emotions get raw and you make mistakes and you make judgements that would take you maybe places maybe you wouldn’t if you were thinking clearly and you were more composed and all that and so things do happen,” Carroll said.
Still, Carroll said coaches simply can’t lose control with their players regardless of the situation.
“I just know it doesn’t happen in our coaching and I don’t want to go to places like that,” Carroll said. “The coaches are like the parents in my mind. They should always be composed and we should be on top of our game and our guys have to have a discipline about them so that we can communicate in the most effective way to help guys do right, that’s it.”
“My teammates and I have endured this treatment all season long. It is not “tough love”,” Wilson wrote in his resignation letter. “It is abuse. This abuse cannot be allowed to continue. I feel it is my duty to stand up and shed light on this situation by sacrificing my dreams, my education and my pride.”
Leach said he “absolutely” denied the allegations following Saturday’s 44-36 loss to UCLA, but refused to comment further. “I’m not going to talk about anybody that’s not here, you know. I coach the guys that are here. I don’t have anything to say about anybody that’s not here,” he said.
Leach is in his first season as Washington State coach after spending two years out of coaching. He spent 10 seasons as Texas Tech coach before being fired in 2009 after claims of mistreatment from a player.
Washington State President Elson Floyd has called for a review following Wilson’s resignation from the team, saying reviews from both the Pac-12 and the athletic department “should get to the bottom of the matter.”
In a statement issued Saturday night, Moos said it was unfortunate that Wilson decided to quit.
“I believe I join many Cougars in wishing Marquess well in his future endeavors,” Moos said. “We have procedures in place that were developed to monitor student-athlete welfare in all of our sports programs. We will continue to follow those procedures and modify them if needed.”
Wilson, a junior, set school single-season records last year with 82 receptions and 1,388 yards receiving. This season, he leads the team with 52 receptions for 813 yards.
Scott, who is in Denver for a meeting with BCS conference commissioners, said while the Pac-12 will aid in the probe, he wasn’t sure yet what form that would take.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.