OXFORD, Ohio (AP) – Two Miami University assistant football coaches were suspended yesterday after one was charged with assaulting a fan and another acknowledged damaging a coaches’ box at Marshall.
Coach Terry Hoeppner apologized yesterday, saying things got out of control when fans rushed the field following Marshall’s last-second 36-34 win over its conference rival.
“It’s scary,” said Hoeppner, who hadn’t slept following the bus ride back from West Virginia. “I had more police protection around me last night, and that shouldn’t be necessary. We’ve lost a little bit of our perspective.”
Defensive coordinator Jon Wauford and linebackers coach Taver Johnson were suspended with pay while the southwest Ohio school investigates.
Wauford was led off the field in handcuffs and charged with battery, a misdemeanor, for allegedly shoving a fan who ran on the field after the game. Johnson acknowledged damaging the visiting coaches’ box, Hoeppner said.
The post-game problems were uncharacteristic for a school that prides itself as the “Cradle of Coaches.”
“I don’t want to prejudge our investigation of the facts. But I have to tell you, as president, to see one of my coaches led away in handcuffs was one of the most difficult things I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” school president James Garland said in a phone interview.
Interim athletic director Steve Snyder said Miami will pay to repair the coaches’ box. A shelf and chairs were damaged, and holes were knocked in the wall, Snyder said.
Wauford was released on $5,000 bond early yesterday morning and has a court hearing Dec. 13. The fan, Robert Flaugher, 36, was treated at a hospital and released.
Flaugher was among thousands of fans who stormed the field moments after Marshall scored the winning touchdown in the closing seconds.
West Virginia State Police said Wauford shoved Flaugher, who fell and struck his head on the field’s artificial turf.
“He was waving goodbye to Miami’s players – the coach basically hit him with a forearm. That knocked him flat. His head definitely hit first on the turf. It was basically a sucker punch,” Todd Flaugher, the brother of the attacked Robert, said.