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Wednesday, Feb. 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

2 Miami-Ohio coaches suspended

OXFORD, Ohio -- Two Miami University assistant football coaches were suspended Wednesday after one was charged with assaulting a fan and another acknowledged damaging a coaches' box at Marshall.\nCoach Terry Hoeppner apologized Wednesday, saying things got out of control when fans rushed the field following Marshall's last-second 36-34 win over its Mid-American Conference rival.\nHoeppner took two university police officers with him for extra protection on the field, anticipating a volatile situation.\n"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."\nDefensive coordinator Jon Wauford and linebackers coach Taver Johnson were suspended with pay while the southwest Ohio school investigates.\nWauford 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.\nThe post-game problems were uncharacteristic for a school that prides itself as the "Cradle of Coaches."\n"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.\n"We justify our support of athletics because of the message that it sends about character," Garland said. "These events of yesterday suggest that we've fallen short of our goal."\nInterim 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.\nWauford was released on $5,000 bond early Wednesday and has a court hearing Dec. 13. The fan, Robert Flaugher, 36, was treated at a hospital and released.\nFlaugher was among thousands of fans who stormed the field moments after Marshall scored the winning touchdown in the closing seconds.\nWest Virginia State Police said Wauford shoved Flaugher, who fell and struck his head on the artificial turf. He was taken away on a stretcher with what was diagnosed as a concussion.\nFlaugher's brother, Todd, said that neither he nor his brother used abusive language toward Miami players or coaches.\n"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 said.\nFlaugher said he and his brother ran onto the field and congratulated the Marshall players, then started running toward the facilities buildings. "That's the last thing I remember," he told WCHS-TV on Wednesday.\n"I'm tired and I've got a splitting headache and a little bit of a neck cramp where apparently my neck snapped back, but other than that, I'm feeling no worse for the wear."\nHoeppner predicted that Wauford, a Miami assistant for three years, will be exonerated because of the circumstances on the field.\n"It was emotional in all contexts," Hoeppner said.\nMarshall coach Bob Pruett said he didn't see the confrontation and declined to comment on it.\nAsked about the damage in the coaches' box, Pruett said: "People get excited after games. It's a very emotional game. You put your life and soul into a ballgame, and sometimes you react in ways that would be distressful."\nMid-American Conference commissioner Rick Chryst talked to both schools on Wednesday and approved of their responses.\nMiami is proud of its history of producing coaching luminaries such as Paul Brown, Weeb Ewbank, Sid Gillman, Ara Parseghian and Woody Hayes, who was fired by Ohio State for hitting a Clemson player who made an interception during a game.

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