Bulldogs assistant coach suspended

Published: Saturday, March 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 28, 2003 at 11:18 p.m.

ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia assistant coach Jim Harrick Jr. was suspended Friday, a day after a former player accused him of paying his expenses and committing academic fraud.

Harrick, son of head coach Jim Harrick, is barred from participating in practices and games, athletic director Vince Dooley said in a statement. He will be permitted to use basketball office facilities.

``In light of the seriousness of the allegations, we feel that it is appropriate to suspend Jim Harrick Jr. with pay, until such time as these allegations are investigated to our satisfaction,'' the statement said.

In an interview with ESPN on Thursday night, Tony Cole said Harrick Jr. paid $300 for a phone bill that Cole ran up while staying with the mother of a friend during the summer of 2001.

Cole also said Harrick Jr. took or arranged for someone else to take two correspondence courses for him from Lincoln Trail College. Harrick Jr. also taught a coaching class at Georgia and gave Cole an ``A'' even though the player never attended the class, Cole said.

The elder Harrick briefly addressed reporters before practice Friday, but didn't take any questions.

``Despite the many issues we've had in the past with Tony Cole, we take these things seriously,'' Harrick said. ``To attack our program is something that I really take very seriously.

``I'm very, very confident that we'll come to a swift and positive answer to all of these questions.''

With that, he walked to the practice gym, saying he had to prepare for a game. Georgia, ranked No. 21 in the latest Associated Press poll, hosts No. 2 Kentucky on Sunday.

The younger Harrick was not available Friday.

University president Michael Adams also issued a statement, saying Ed Tolley, legal counsel to the university's athletic association, would lead the investigation and that the NCAA's enforcement director, David Price, had been asked for assistance.

``The allegations concerning the basketball program are serious. We will take definitive and appropriate actions based upon the findings of this investigation,'' Adams said.

Cole was suspended after 16 games last season when he faced sexual assault charges, but he wasn't reinstated even after the charges were dropped. He was arrested on campus in December and charged with trespassing after he refused to leave the weight room in the Ramsey Student Center.

He has since left school.

The summer before he enrolled at Georgia, Cole lived for a time with Eva Davis, the mother of a friend, in Baton Rouge, La. Davis told ESPN that a man who gave his name as Jim Harrick called her and offered to pay any expenses she incurred while Cole was there. When a $300 phone bill came, the money was sent to pay for it, she said.

A receipt from Western Union identified the sender as ``Jim Harrick.''

Later, when his enrollment was delayed, Cole stayed in Athens-area hotels for about two weeks, running up more than $1,000 in charges.

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