Coach Suspended for Alleged Attack on Student

Holy Family University basketball coach allegedly elbowed and hit player

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Holy Family University basketball coach John O'Connor allegedly attacked a sophomore basketball player during a February practice and now the allegations are reportedly backed up by videotape. (Published Monday, Feb 21, 2011)

    A basketball coach at Holy Family University was suspended for allegedly elbowing a 19-year-old player and then hitting him with the back of his hand -- hard enough to knock the player to the floor, according to Philadelphia Police public affairs officials.

    The January incident was caught on tape that has surfaced.

    Coach John O’Connor was suspended Thursday pending an investigation into the incident, according to Holy Family Director of Communications Tom Durso.

    Durso said he could not comment on why O’Connor is suspended, nor how the school found out about the incident.

    This is O’Connor’s first year as a coach at Holy Family.

    Though police and university officials wouldn't go into details about alleged physical abuse, the player spoke, saying that he didn’t know why O’Connor was pushed to the point of bloodying a player, leaving him with an injured wrist.

    "I'm upset and everything that is happening now is unfair to me," Matt Kravchuk, the Holy Family sophomore, said. 

    After the attack O'Connor allegedly cursed at Kravchuck and tossed him out of practice at the Northeast Philly college, said Kravchuk's attorney Jack Cohen.

    "I think it's reprehensible... what this coach did to Matthew was not only uncalled for but I believe illegal and caused serious injury," Cohen said.

    O'Connor later apologized to Kravchuk and his teammates later that day, according to Cohen.

    Kravchuk reported his coach’s attack to the university’s athletic director that same day -- Jan. 25 -- and then filed a complaint with police Feb. 11 when he didn’t feel like the university was taking the incident seriously enough, according to the Daily News.

    "I didn't expect to get hit or anything like that," Kravchuk told the Daily News. "I know he's really emotional about basketball."

    Because of the injury to his wrist, Kravchuk has been unable to play basketball since the incident, he said.

    In an e-mail to the Daily News, O’Connor’s lawyer said that the coach’s 25 years of coaching experience and good reputation will speak for him “during this discussion.”

    O'Connor didn't return calls from NBC Philadelphia for comment.