Steve Alford sorry for handling of Iowa incident - New York News

Steve Alford sorry for handling of Iowa incident

Posted: Updated:

By BETH HARRIS 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — New UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford apologized on Thursday for the way he handled a sexual assault charge involving a player on his team in 2002 when he coached at Iowa.

Alford has faced media questioning about the incident since he was hired to coach the Bruins nearly two weeks ago. He and UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero addressed the matter in a statement distributed by the school that didn't mention the name of former Hawkeyes player Pierre Pierce, who was the team's starting point guard.

Alford said he "instinctively and mistakenly" came to the defense of Pierce before he knew all the facts. At the time, he staunchly defended Pierce, saying, "I totally believe he is innocent. I believed it from day one, and I still believe it."

Pierce was charged with third-degree sexual assault and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assault involving injury after the incident with an Iowa female student-athlete. He was suspended and red-shirted that season. The incident proved polarizing in Iowa City, and Alford's reputation took a major hit among Hawkeyes fans.

"I wanted to believe he was innocent, and in response to a media question, I publicly proclaimed his innocence before the legal system had run its course," Alford said Thursday. "This was inappropriate, insensitive and hurtful, especially to the young female victim involved, and I apologize for that."

In 2005, Pierce was charged with sexual assault again when he was accused of threatening an ex-girlfriend with a knife and choking her. He was dismissed from the team before charges were filed.

When Alford was asked about the incident on the day he was introduced at UCLA, he said, "I followed everything that the University of Iowa, the administration, the lawyers that were hired ... I followed everything that I was told to do."

That same day, Guerrero said UCLA had vetted its new coach's character and was "comfortable with where we are now."

On Thursday, Alford said, "I have learned and grown from that experience and now understand that such proclamations can contribute to an atmosphere in which similar crimes go unreported and victims are not taken seriously."

He said he wants to make sure the UCLA community knows that he would handle the situation differently today.

Guerrero said Alford "made an error in judgment 11 years ago" but that he has shown true character by acknowledging and learning from it.

"Our evaluation was based on his entire career, both on and off the court, and that is what led us to make our decision that he was the right coach for UCLA," the athletic director said.

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Family of 5-year-old with cancer upset with cruise line

    Family of 5-year-old with cancer upset with cruise line

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:23 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:23:04 GMT
    A Long Island family is upset that a cruise line won't accommodate them after their five-year-old son had to have emergency surgery for cancer.  Nicolas Colucci and the rest of his family was supposed to go on a cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway on June 1, 2014.  On May 19 he ended up having to have surgery on his liver, gallbladder, diaphragm and lymph nodes after doctors found out he had a large cancerous tumor growing inside of his liver.
    A Long Island family is upset that a cruise line won't accommodate them after their five-year-old son had to have emergency surgery for cancer.  Nicolas Colucci and the rest of his family was supposed to go on a cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway on June 1, 2014.  On May 19 he ended up having to have surgery on his liver, gallbladder, diaphragm and lymph nodes after doctors found out he had a large cancerous tumor growing inside of his liver.
  • Tornado kills N.J. couple in Va. campground

    Tornado kills N.J. couple in Va. campground

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:06:16 GMT
    Virginia State Police photoVirginia State Police photo
    A New Jersey couple was killed after a tornado caused a tree to fall on their tent at a popular campground, according to Virginia State Police. Lord Balatbat and Lolabeth Ortega, of Jersey City, were killed Thursday morning as a fierce storm ripped through the campground, police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.
    A New Jersey couple was killed after a tornado caused a tree to fall on their tent at a popular campground, according to Virginia State Police. Lord Balatbat and Lolabeth Ortega, of Jersey City, were killed Thursday morning as a fierce storm ripped through the campground, police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.
  • Mom: 4-year-old banned from doughnut shop

    Mom: 4-year-old banned from doughnut shop

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:05 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:05:13 GMT
    4-year-old Justin Otero is a curious guy, but his curiosity got him into some trouble at his local Connecticut doughnut shop.
    4-year-old Justin Otero is a curious guy, but his curiosity got him into some trouble at his local Connecticut doughnut shop.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices