Many of you have probably never heard of Mike Leaf, longtime coach of the Division II Winona State Warriors men’s basketball team. In 28 years with the program, including 17 as head coach, Leaf took home two Division II championships in 2006 and 2008 and abruptly resigned in late June of this year.
Why? Well, in a report by John Casper Jr. of the Winona Daily News, a player on the team had accused Leaf of making “drunken sexual advances” and resigned shortly after the player filed a complaint with the university.
The player then told Casper that he had been drinking at Leaf’s home which was not uncommon, but that Leaf had pressured him to do so. Leaf was quite drunk and kept making advances, so the player left, only to be followed back to his apartment by Leaf. Casper offered more:
“He didn’t want to return to Leaf’s house. But he wanted to take care of his coach. So he walked with Leaf home, holding Leaf up at times, he said.
“The next thing the player remembered it was shortly after midnight and he woke up lying in Leaf’s bed, with Leaf breathing heavily in his ear. Leaf was touching his torso, his leg, his arm, and then began kissing his neck, the player said.
“The player tried to rise from the bed, at which point Leaf held him and said, according to the player: “This isn’t what you think it is. You’re in my company. You’ll be fine.”
“The player broke free, gathered his things, and tried to leave. Leaf approached him and suggested they should each punch each other. Leaf swung at him three times, and missed each time, the player said.”
The player is still at the university and still on the team, and he told Casper the reason why was because of the great support he received from the school. Leaf has since been replaced by Todd Eisner, former Midland University coach.
Needless to say, it’s a sad ending to a storied career by Leaf, whose coaching career is all but over. It just goes to show that just one mistake can kill success, and Leaf is learning that the hard way.
All that anyone can hope for is that this is truly the end of his story and that he learns from it.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to Winona Daily News