MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) – Morehead State suspended coach Sean Woods for a game Friday after he pushed one of his players during a loss at No. 8 Kentucky.
Woods will sit out Monday night’s home game against Norfolk State while assistant Dylan Howard coaches in his place.
Morehead State athletic director Brian Hutchinson suspended Woods after meeting with the coach.
“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,” Hutchinson said in statement released by the university.
The first-year Eagles’ coach pushed Devon Atkinson in the back Wednesday night as the senior point guard walked toward the bench after fouling out with 5:51 remaining. Woods said in a statement that “will not happen again.”
“My behavior during Wednesday night’s game was inappropriate and unacceptable,” Woods said. “I am truly sorry.”
The former Kentucky guard rarely stood still during the 81-70 loss to his alma mater, pacing the sidelines and getting in the faces of his players. Morehead State responded with a physical game in which the Eagles held the lead against Kentucky in both halves.
After the game, Woods defended his coaching style, saying he wanted his team to reflect his passion for the game.
“How did they look tonight? They look just like me, right?” Woods said. “They see me every day and that’s how we’re going to be every day. We’re going to fight. …
“Every day we step out in practice and in games, we have got to have a chip on our shoulders that we have something to prove.”
But Woods crossed the line against Kentucky.
It was his second intense sideline encounter with a player this season. During a 67-45 loss at Maryland on Nov. 12, Woods was seen yelling in the face of Chad Posthumus while the junior center was on the bench.
Eagles junior forward Drew Kelly said Woods’ behavior doesn’t make the team uncomfortable.
“We can handle it and it makes us better,” Kelly said after the Kentucky game.
Friday’s statement was Woods’ second apology this week.
On Monday he criticized some of the current Wildcats’ attitude and for their limited knowledge of Kentucky basketball history. It bothered him that Wildcats freshman center Willie Cauley-Stein was unaware of Christian Laettner or “The Shot” that beat Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA East Regional final.
“They don’t get it,” said Woods, a point guard on that Kentucky team and whose jersey hangs from the Rupp Arena rafters.
“They play basketball, but they don’t know what basketball really is. And they’re very, very fortunate. We live in a microwave society now, and it’s a shame that kids don’t know the history.”
Woods later apologized on Twitter for those comments.
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