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West Virginia coach reprimanded over Hawaii melee

By Ferd Lewis

LAST UPDATED: 01:33 a.m. HST, Nov 22, 2013

The Big 12 Conference has publicly reprimanded a West Virginia assistant women's basketball coach for his actions Sunday at the Stan Sheriff Center where a brawl followed the Bank of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Classic.

UH athletic director Ben Jay and arena manager Rich Sheriff suffered injuries in attempting to break up a post-game melee.

WVA assistant Lester Rowe's actions were judged in violation of the Big 12 Conference's Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct rules, the conference said on its website today.

"Coach Rowe violated conference rules that prohibit coaches, student-athletes, athletic department staff and university personnel from committing abusive acts toward an opponent's fans," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. "Coaches have the responsibility to refrain from behavior that incites negative fan conduct."

The conference said, "Coach Rowe is also put on notice that future incidents may result in a more serious penalty."

In a statement on the West Virginia website, athletic director Oliver Luck said, "I respect Commissioner Bowlsby's decision to issue a reprimand of our assistant women's basketball coach, and any disciplinary measures will be handled internally."

Rowe's biography on the Mountaineer website said he is a 1985 graduate of the school and was a four-year starter on the men's basketball team.

Luck said, "It was an unfortunate situation that occurred on Sunday prior to the trophy ceremony at the conclusion of the tournament at the University of Hawaii. The incident has been reviewed by the appropriate individuals and I consider the matter closed."

Meanwhile, UH said it is still attempting to learn the identity of a spectator it said had been heckling Rowe and the West Virginia bench for much of the game.

"Certainly the interaction between the assistant coach and the fan added fuel to the fire," Jay said.

"We have some video clips that we are taking a look at," Jay said. "We do have a picture of the (spectator) and we are attempting to identify his name. We do want to talk to him."

Jay said, "there was a lot of pushing and shoving in the middle of it. People were just trying to separate (the parties) keep the fans and coaches back so people wouldn't get hurt."

Jay, who was hospitalized Monday for fractured vertebrae and blood around his kidneys, is working from home and said he still suffers "a jabbing pain."

Sheriff, who suffered several lacerations, has remained at work.

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loquaciousone wrote:
Doesn't this rise to the level of assault and felony battery?
on November 21,2013 | 08:54AM
allie wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 21,2013 | 09:31AM
Morimoto wrote:
For one of the few times you've made a reasonable comment allie. Now can you tell me which restaurant you work at baby girl. I wanna try your pizza.
on November 21,2013 | 10:57AM
loquaciousone wrote:
California Pizza and it's located in Los Angeles. Hurry the plane is leaving soon.
on November 21,2013 | 11:16AM
false wrote:
More like Korean Bar
on November 21,2013 | 01:00PM
Pocho wrote:
massage parlor?
on November 21,2013 | 02:01PM
inverse wrote:
Hope you are not surprised like everyone else with Lennay Kekua
on November 21,2013 | 11:52AM
allie wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 21,2013 | 12:42PM
false wrote:
Upon your return to the Hekawis the winds will no longer be scared.
on November 21,2013 | 01:01PM
aomohoa wrote:
I'm worried you're not leaving. LOL Do you have your ticket yet.???
on November 21,2013 | 01:39PM
Morimoto wrote:
Can't you just keep posting online? Isn't there internet access in N. Dakota? Or are you going to live on a reservation with no electricity?
on November 21,2013 | 01:52PM
kimchee wrote:
But more say go, hun. Yikes!
on November 21,2013 | 03:58PM
Pocho wrote:
allie, it's so scary on UH Campus lately
on November 21,2013 | 02:00PM
1local wrote:
look out for the NAACP...gonna claim racial profiling...
on November 21,2013 | 11:19AM
ponowai wrote:
Hope Ben Jay recovers quickly. What did the WV coach do?
on November 21,2013 | 09:01AM
kiragirl wrote:
He called the heckler to come on down.
on November 21,2013 | 11:00AM
Maunawiliboy wrote:
That sounds like serious injury. Not knowing who caused or contributed to this senior citizens injury, (what does hurting him prove?), there is no place in sports for thugs, either players or coaches.
on November 21,2013 | 09:10AM
lwandcah wrote:
Or idiot fans; which I am sorry to say, we have our share at all the UH sports events.
on November 21,2013 | 11:02AM
CriticalReader wrote:
OK, the conference took action. Now WHAT IS WVA as an institution going to do? There's obviously a finding. It obviously merited conference action. Are the institution's rules more stringent or more lax?
on November 21,2013 | 09:36AM
Bully wrote:
Why haven't there been any arrest?
on November 21,2013 | 09:44AM
RichardCory wrote:
Because people have these things called "legs." You use then to do something called "running" before the cops come.

Congratulations! You have just learned how to be a criminal. Please use this knowledge with caution.
on November 21,2013 | 09:56AM
miss_laulau wrote:
I hope SA will print the complete and accurate story of what happened. From what I have read so far, it seems that a UH fan had a lot to do with instigating the fight. If that is true then he needs to be called on it. Of course, as a coach, the WVA coach needs to be reprehended but he shouldn't have to take all the blame. Hope Ben Jay will be okay. Once you hurt your back, sometimes it will stay with you for life : [
on November 21,2013 | 09:46AM
lwandcah wrote:
Absolutely agree that coaches need to be above reproach however; when it gets to the point that you think your players may be at risk, I have no problem with a coach "stepping in" especially when the home team isn't doing anything about it. I have been at countless games here and away, where I was embarrassed to be there. And the worst part is the most of the time you have personel there that should be doing something about it, but don't. One fans "right to enjoy himself" should not be at the rest of the fans and players expense.
on November 21,2013 | 11:43AM
false wrote:
I'm not surprised we got a lot of mokes here that would do that kind of things. Just go to the alcohol fueled stadium crowd or should I say the "What" crowd.
on November 21,2013 | 01:03PM
jayz43 wrote:
Mokes?! You're not talking about "rednecks" in Hawaii are you?! I did not know that...
on November 21,2013 | 06:22PM
seaborn wrote:
Some fan in the stands was heckling WVA Assistant Coach Rowe. More than likely a loudmouth UH fan, which there are MANY that can't just enjoy the game, and have to be obnoxious. Hopefully, the video they have will expose the idiot(s), and the person(s) won't be permitted in any future UH sports facilities.
on November 21,2013 | 09:49AM
miss_laulau wrote:
Sorry....reprimanded.....not reprehended....
on November 21,2013 | 09:50AM
Songoboy wrote:
the Hawaii fan "that was involved" actually called KSSK's Perry and Price this past week and kinda told his side of the story......
on November 21,2013 | 09:54AM
miss_laulau wrote:
I missed that so what did he say?
on November 21,2013 | 09:55AM
waverider808 wrote:
songoboy, I missed it too. what did he say? time to ban him for life....
on November 21,2013 | 10:07AM
false wrote:
The guy could barely speak english. Either that or they had audio problems.
on November 21,2013 | 01:05PM
AhiPoke wrote:
I'm wondering what his side of the story could be. I doubt that this coach was heckling him so how can he justify his involvement.
on November 21,2013 | 10:22AM
seaborn wrote:
The report states they are reviewing a video of the fan heckling WVA Assistant Coach Rowe throughout the entire game. More than likely it was a UH supporter, because it seems there is ALWAYS an obnoxious fan at EVERY UH sports event. I hope they identify the person, and if it is a UH sports fan, hopefully the person(s) will not be permitted to attend any future UH sports events. Pitiful.
on November 21,2013 | 09:57AM
false wrote:
Corrections not the events just some of the lolo fans.
on November 21,2013 | 01:06PM
ka_iwa wrote:
Coaches, Fans and Athletic Directors need to be held accountable. AD's do need to step in to stop fights! Fans need to be arrested for conduct that is abusive and aggressive and the coaching staffs need to control their players and coaches. Charges need to filed on the person/persons involved for this whole disturbing altercation. Looks very BAD people, Very bad!!!!!
on November 21,2013 | 09:57AM
Descartes22 wrote:
Coach Demerits Demarest yells at a cheap shot opponent who injured a UH player and receives a one game suspension. The hothead HillyBilly U coach escalates a "melee" through his big body conduct and gets a public scolding. Is this Luck?
on November 21,2013 | 10:01AM
chryw8 wrote:
where was "security"? got a handful of guys with walkie-talkie communication devices roaming the arena. i've seen the same dudes throwing out a couple of fans for ragging on a ref (who was worthy the fans' displeasure). talk about arbitrary enforcement.
on November 21,2013 | 10:20AM
PCWarrior wrote:
Apparently UH security at the center is handled by Ben Jay and Rich Sheriff. Ergo, they are in the hospital and suffering from lacerations, broken bones and internal injuries.
on November 21,2013 | 10:27AM
false wrote:
I think sheriff needs to be replaced. But I guess that will never happen after all the place is named after his father.
on November 21,2013 | 01:07PM
markat wrote:
Seems like Ben Jay and Rich Sheriff were the security. If Ben Jay was sitting right in the middle of it throughout the game, he should have taken some action sooner to address the heckling if it was bad enough to warrant action. I wasn't there so I'm just speculating, but seems to me that if Ben Jay was sitting in the middle of it, he should have realized that emotions were escalating and should have addressed it before it exploded (or found someone else in authority to address it.)
on November 21,2013 | 03:55PM
buggee808 wrote:
Due to budget cuts, this is probably one of the reasons why there was limited security.
on November 21,2013 | 10:43AM
sjean wrote:
How much security do you need to handle the 8 fans who show up four Wahine basketball?
on November 21,2013 | 01:22PM
markat wrote:
Apparently, you need more than Ben Jay and Rich Sheriff.
on November 21,2013 | 03:55PM
chryw8 wrote:
Luck said, "The incident has been reviewed by the appropriate individuals and I consider the matter closed.” that's what they're going to do about it.
on November 21,2013 | 10:25AM
awahana wrote:
All major sport events should require ID scan and sign in at entry.
That would make these unruly lolos think twice before acting bad.
Prevention is the best cure.
on November 21,2013 | 10:31AM
Descartes22 wrote:
A better solution is to have the government install unobtrusive GPS chips in all citizens; newborns within four days of birth. Remember, it is almost 2014 - not 1984.
on November 21,2013 | 11:18AM
false wrote:
Too intrusive. How about a permanent bar code tattoo?
on November 21,2013 | 01:09PM
CriticalReader wrote:
NO. You cannot be so intrusive. You must use deterrents. My idea would be to make disruptive people get locked in gallows facing away from the field or court for the entire remainder of the current game, and the next game they attend. And everyone gets to take pictures with them and taze them if they want.
on November 21,2013 | 05:17PM
kiragirl wrote:
In hindsight, the WV coach should have informed security about the heckler. Security would then verify and if correct, to have heckler stop it or be removed. Case closed. No altercation.
on November 21,2013 | 11:03AM
vanzhula wrote:
According to the first story printed, the coaching staff did say they approached a worker in the center who obviously didn't do anything. I know this is probably true because this happened on a couple of occasions that I went to watch local girls who played for the visiting teams. The worst part is the crowd was more brutal to the local girls on the opposing teams. How shame is that? I myself approached two stan sheriff employees about this type of behavior and watched them do NOTHING. They need to overhaul the whole arena management.
on November 21,2013 | 02:27PM
markat wrote:
I thought the exact same thing as kiragirl. If what vanzhula says is true, then I agree, arena management has got to go. They don't have a clue as to how to run a facility of that size.
on November 21,2013 | 03:58PM
HawaiiMongoose wrote:
Good to see the WVU coach held accountable for his actions. The heckler now needs to be identified and banned from future athletic events at the SSC.
on November 21,2013 | 11:14AM
bekwell wrote:
It's time for a new name for sports. It should be called fights.
on November 21,2013 | 11:24AM
BigIsandLava wrote:
Why strive to develop a first class facility if we allow fans with no class to do and say whatever they like. I am not too concerned about what consequences the WVU assistant will be dealt with, it is a concern that need to be decided by WVU. I am mostly concerned about these lolos (maybe drunken lolo), that reflect on the Hawaii fans in a poor way. No excuse, no way. Lifetime ban and find the ones responsible for the hurt they put on Jay and Sheriff and charge them.
on November 21,2013 | 11:37AM
Jiro wrote:
Did you know the toothbrush was invented in West Virginia?
on November 21,2013 | 11:43AM
false wrote:
So that's why are local fan go upset he doesn't like to bush his teeth. I get it.
on November 21,2013 | 01:11PM
Jiro wrote:
If it was invented in any other place it would be called a "teeth" brush.
on November 21,2013 | 03:13PM
JimLoomis wrote:
Find the fan and bar him from the arena.
on November 21,2013 | 11:48AM
gobows wrote:
on November 21,2013 | 12:28PM
gobows wrote:
so is Duke going to ban hecklers from Cameron Indoor???...doubtful heckling is part of the game......coaches and players only fuel the fire when they respond to it. WV assistant coach was out of line. Got slapped on the wrist and end of story. Now.....who hit Ben Jay is another story.
on November 21,2013 | 11:57AM
Descartes22 wrote:
Content appropriate heckling has long been a part of all team sports. It often creates a home team's advantage, especially in baseball. The Prohibitionists (alcohol, heckling, standing up at a sporting event, etc) are predictably knee-jerk.
on November 21,2013 | 12:09PM
Descartes22 wrote:
Content appropriate heckling has long been a part of all team sports. It often creates a home team advantage, especially in baseball. The Prohibitionists (alcohol, hecklng, standing up at a sporting event) are as predictable as a loss during Chow Time.
on November 21,2013 | 12:15PM
vanzhula wrote:
You are correct, there are "hecklers" all over the world of sports. But when your own local girls and boys come home to play in front of their own 'ohana and their family has to sit there and listen to that and to make matters worst our keiki have to get on the plane with their team and have to defend where they come from even though they were hurt by the people of their own land, How sad is that?! I have been to a few games where local kids came home to play against the home team and that corner where it happened, ALWAYS has trouble. There is staff there that don't do anything about it. They just turn a deaf ear and often you can see them smiling when a "rude" fan takes a "shot" at a local playing on the visiting team. Yes, I made complaints not just to the workers, to UH and also here on these types of forums. It was only a matter of time that something would happen. I'm just surprised it didn't happen sooner.
on November 21,2013 | 02:32PM
inverse wrote:
What if the Hawaii fan was using the "N" word like Michael Richards to the visiting assistant coach? The NCAA is clearly making a statement that coaches, no matter what are not supposed to escalate the conflict to a physical fight but, gosh if the heckler was using something as disgusting as the "N" word against the visiting coach, and there was no UH security or HPD to remove the heckler, I can understand the visiting coach for stepping up against the heckler instead of just walking away.
on November 21,2013 | 11:58AM
gobows wrote:
regardless....coaches and players, should never respond to fans. never ever.
on November 21,2013 | 12:27PM
Wahiawamauka wrote:
Want to talk to the fan in the crowd? They don't want to talk to the West Virginia assistant coach? Heckling in sports has been around forever.
on November 21,2013 | 12:20PM
gobows wrote:
WAS anyone at the game? anyone know what the heckler was heckling??
on November 21,2013 | 12:25PM
gobows wrote:
what was the heckler saying?
on November 21,2013 | 12:26PM
gobows wrote:
Hawaii needs more passionate fans like the heckler.
on November 21,2013 | 12:34PM
gobows wrote:
UH needs more fans like this
on November 21,2013 | 12:35PM
false wrote:
UH needs lees fans like him but needs more fans.
on November 21,2013 | 01:13PM
gobows wrote:
What we dont need is Assistant Coaches like that
on November 21,2013 | 12:35PM
bully106 wrote:
the wv coach should have called security on the smartazz guy. no reason to get so wound up like he did. the whole thing sounds silly but someone old like ben jay and rich sheriff could have gotten severely hurt by the melee.
on November 21,2013 | 01:34PM
aomohoa wrote:
"The incident has been reviewed by the appropriate individuals and I consider the matter closed.”The that mean closed to the pubic or it's over.? How is that? Has anyone been charged with assault???
on November 21,2013 | 01:38PM
aomohoa wrote:
It seems apparent that good sportsmanship no longer exists. This is all thanks to the Milieum me generation.
on November 21,2013 | 01:43PM
fairgame947 wrote:
in watching the whole melee, I don't believe that coach is the one who caused injury to BJ. BUT, IMO, he was the one who provoked the entire situation by egging on the UH heckler. Perhaps to prevent in the future, maybe a certain section behind the visiting bench could be roped off for the visiting team. Just like it would be if there were different price seats and seating requirements were enforced. Just an idea. Never thought anything like that would happen at a Wahine basketball game. WVU did have a fairly large group of supporters, especially considering how far they had come.
on November 21,2013 | 02:11PM
richierich wrote:
"Meanwhile, UH said it is still attempting to learn the identity of a spectator it said had been heckling Rowe and the West Virginia bench for much of the game." What a waste of time. Fans heckle, and cheer and boo. being heckled by fans does not justify his actions. Fire that baboon.
on November 21,2013 | 03:13PM
Anonymous wrote:
In general, UH fans are the worst. Too much moke attitude. Add in the beer and they all get big body.
on November 21,2013 | 04:38PM
PBnJz wrote:
I know HPD do security at UHWVB games, but not sure if they are also present for UHWBB games. When I noticed the "melee" happening, there was not a uniformed member in sight! The UH fan did get "pushed out" of the "melee" area and was cleared of the entire area. I also Ben Jay standing on the perifory of the "melee" area. He was right up against the UWV team bench chairs. However, the unruly UH fan nowhere near the scene, a whole bunch more pushing started going on in that area. I didn't see Ben Jay try to get in the middle of anything (I mean he's not a big guy!) and there were about a half dozen UWV coaches in the area (all in their powder blue polos). But I then did see Ben Jay on his knees out on the court...a common position which helps relieve acute back pain! It was a good ten minutes after the second round of pushing that everyone was asked to leave and then I could see about 5 campus security members showed up on the scene and started looking for the UH fan...who'd already been gone for about 15 minutes! And another fool (UH fan whom I've seen at many SSC events) was yelling "Round 2"...what an idiot! At any rate, I keep hearing how "more security wouldn't have done any good" in this situation...but I think if there had been some type of authoritative security there, then the second round of pushing would not have occurred...and Ben Jay would (and perhaps Rich Sherif) would not have been hurt. I really didn't see anyone who was an obvious UH fan in the "melee" area during the second bout of pushing. And for those worried about the safety of the players, they were on the court side of their bench and one of them had the good sense to get their teammates together and get them into the locker room...while their coaches "duked it out" behind the bench with the crowd. An unfortunate event, indeed! And still haven't heard who made the All-Tournament team!
on November 21,2013 | 05:20PM
Kapuna wrote:
Sheriff or UH staff and students should be advised to look out for hecklers in the crowds that could lead to melees. Ask them to leave.
on November 21,2013 | 09:36PM
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