Former Georgia Tech assistant suspended for hitting player (VIDEO) (UPDATE: He’s gone)

Former Jackets assistant John Connor took a hard practice too far at Holy Family University.

Former Georgia Tech assistant John O'Connor took a hard practice too far at Holy Family University in Philadelphia. (MyFoxPhilly.com)

(UPDATE: John O’Connor has “resigned” from his coaching job at Holy Family University after video showed him hitting and knocking down one of his players. O’Connor will not face any criminal charges, according to the Philadelphia district attorney’s office. Here’s the link to the Associated Press story.)

Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt may lose his job after this season. John O’Connor, one of his former assistants, may lose a lot more than that: He has been suspended for hitting one of his players.

O’Connor, who worked at Tech from 2005 to 2010 as director of operations and then assistant coach under Hewitt, has been suspended from his first-year head coaching job at Division II Holy Family University in Philadelphia, after a player filed a police report claiming he was assaulted.

There is video evidence of the incident, via MyFoxPhilly.com. It shows a practice from last month in which sophomore Matt Kravchuk gets knocked to the ground by O’Connor and then is verbally abused by the coach. You’ll see Kravchuk getting hit, then even half-kicked as O’Connor yells at him to, “Get up!”

Kravchuk then leaves the drill bleeding, prompting O’Connor to yell, “Got a little [bleeping] blood on ya? Good!”

Here’s the video and news report from MyFoxPhilly (via TheBigLead):

This is O’Connor’s first head coaching job. He also was an assistant at Drexel and Lafayette. Here’s his bio from when he was an assistant for the Yellow Jackets.

Quick comment: I understand there are some folks who believe some high school and college athletes get coddled too much. Regardless of where you stand on that, this was over the line.

It’s inexcusable that O’Connor was allowed to coach for five games after the incident and that the school appeared to be attempting to sweep the incident under the rug before Kravchuk went public.

With that, I welcome your thoughts. Do you agree this was over the line?

By Jeff Schultz

Hawks’ Rick Sund puts onus on players: ‘Challenge is up to them’

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88 comments Add your comment

FireHewitt

February 21st, 2011
11:12 am

I’m not going to do the “first” thing, because it is preposterously stupid. But if anyone has the bandwidth, can you edit this by pasting PHew’s face on O’Connor’s, and Shumpert’s on the player’s?

Innocent Bystander

February 21st, 2011
11:14 am

Guess there’s a reason why he’s an ex-Tech assistant. As much as we can talk bad about PH, he’d never let this stuff fly on his staff. He’s a decent guy outside the X’s and O’s.

Hollywould

February 21st, 2011
11:14 am

Goodbye coaching/give him some pads.

Techster

February 21st, 2011
11:15 am

I’ve given up on all our athletic teams!!! At least we still have our Tickle Piles!!!

DawginLex

February 21st, 2011
11:32 am

If he did that to me, he would have been the one bleeding. The kid should have gone after him. I can’t believe his teammate just stood there and did nothing.

Teaching physical basketball is fine between the players but the coach getting involved went over the line and made it personal. They would have had to pry me off of him.

Dawg 1

February 21st, 2011
11:32 am

“Back in the day”, players took as many shots from coaches in football and basketball as they did on the field or court. The need for water was a weakness.

Time has proven that neither of these processes tend to work out. Plus kids today are different. They are taught from the time they are small that you win as a team, you lose as a team. Granted there are always going to be some ‘me’ guys out there; but it is fair to say that most coaches today work from a ‘ let’s pull together, verses ‘let me tear them all down’ approach.

Physical abuse… You go…

That simple.

Finally, please, no one even attempt to tie this to Georgia Tech. CPH has been nothing but a ‘class guy’ since arriving on campus.

DawginLex

February 21st, 2011
11:36 am

I’m as old school as they come. My coaches screamed at me and my teammates and called us every name in the book. Not once did they ever do what this clown did.

Jeff Schultz

February 21st, 2011
11:37 am

Logan (et. al) — are you looking to get banned?

GT Dude

February 21st, 2011
11:38 am

This is just an eruption of the frustration John had pent up from all of his days on Hewitt’s staff.
I say “Fire Them All, Hewitt, his current staff and anyone whoever was on his staff”

Bobby Knight

February 21st, 2011
11:42 am

The coach’s actions appear entirely justified to me.

GTfan

February 21st, 2011
11:49 am

Glad he is gone from GT…………But crap happens…one of Hewitts men.

el logen boookser

February 21st, 2011
11:50 am

No, sorry Schultzie. I just don’t know much.

Worm

February 21st, 2011
11:50 am

Probably learned it from Paul (Punch em’ in the Mouth) Johnson.

WatchEmEveryNight_Fans

February 21st, 2011
11:51 am

OVER THE LINE. Kids are more responsive to MOTIVATION by positive critique. J O’C clearly over the line. Don’t need him, don’t want him … or any other coaches that resort to physical abuse while “teaching” skills to players.

Barkin'Dog

February 21st, 2011
11:52 am

Sorry, but I don’t see the punch as it was described. The coach looked like he was displaying a hard check or block and knocked the player over (after being caught off guard – pun intended). The the coach nudged the player with his foot telling him to get up (supposedly inferring to be tougher and get back into line). Didn’t see anything rough about the “kick.”

Was the coach out of line – no argument there. But I wouldn’t qualify the story as a “punch and kick”… that’s a little over the top, IMHO.

Jeff Schultz

February 21st, 2011
11:54 am

DawginLex — I sensed the other kids were just stunned. But let’s face it, not many kids are going to go back at their coach (although didn’t Tom Cruise do it in “All The Right Moves”? … Or am I think of “Varsity Blues”? … Somebody help me out.

Jeff Schultz

February 21st, 2011
11:55 am

GT Dude — I’m going to assume that was sarcasm.

Jeff Schultz

February 21st, 2011
11:55 am

Bobby Knight — Well OF COURSE you do!

Mitch Cumstein

February 21st, 2011
11:56 am

He didn’t slug the kid!! He only demonstrated what would have happened in live action. The guy sounds to be pretty involved and jacked about his practices and the kid seems awful wimpy to me.
You can clearly see that the coaches shoulder bumped the kid under the chin and he fell down, which probably frustrated the coach to no end. From there he verbally lambasted him, not abused. Tough coaching has no place in todays society!!

Jeff Schultz

February 21st, 2011
11:57 am

El Logen — Drop and give me 20, soldier.

DHD

February 21st, 2011
12:01 pm

The AJC is always obsessed with former players (Mike Vick gets and article here EVERY day), former coaches, etc. There is nothing to see here….everybody go home.

fs-really

February 21st, 2011
12:02 pm

Way over the line. The coach should be terminated. It was a cheap shot. What kid would expect the coach to hit them from the front?

I had a coach in high school slap kids at half-time. Our coach was trying to motivate the defense and although other than this one incident, we thought the coach was outstanding, he was terminated. I had another player in basketball go after the coach because he was tired of the constant verbal abuse.

Knocking the kid down, (he didn’t kick him but just kicked at him), injuring the kid and then the verbal abuse are unacceptable. As the Trump says, “you’re fired”

Paul H

February 21st, 2011
12:02 pm

Jeff, I think the worst part is that this looked like it was going to be swept under the rug by the school until the kid went public.

ormewood

February 21st, 2011
12:03 pm

What a loser.

jacketdad

February 21st, 2011
12:05 pm

“All The Right Moves” is the movie where Tom Cruise goes back against his coach.

Ben

February 21st, 2011
12:05 pm

Worked under Coach O’Conner as he ran Tech’s camps… And I can tell you he is CRAZY!

Jeff Schultz

February 21st, 2011
12:06 pm

Mitch Cumstein — “He only demonstrated what would have happened in live action.”
… OK, the part about bulldozing the kid and then half-kicking him — what basketball game have you seen that in?

chc4

February 21st, 2011
12:06 pm

Where was the punch? The coach gave him a shoulder that caught the kid in the face but there was no punch whatsoever. And the “kick” was more of a nudge than anything. The coach should be disciplined but not fired.

Jeff Schultz

February 21st, 2011
12:07 pm

Paul H — Agree, if it was handled right away we’d probably never know about it. Similarly, often the lie is worse than the crime.

Jim

February 21st, 2011
12:10 pm

The AD has covered this story up for 3 weeks! She is a bad person who also must pay for trying to sweep this under the carpet!

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DawginLex

February 21st, 2011
12:13 pm

Bad part is that it was caught on tape. Without that, the coach survives.

Our coaches did everything in the world to us and said everything in the world to us and we put up with it. This was a cheap shot with the kid’s head turned but the film leaves it for us to interpret. No film, no problem. Shut off the recorder next time coach. If there is a next time.

Varsity Blues Jeff, the kids fired the coach at the end after the coach went after the QB and tried to choke him. Cruise just stood up for his teammates and got booted off the team.

Me and this Oconnor dude would still be fighting if he had cheap shotted me like that. (Is that a word??)

wxwax

February 21st, 2011
12:20 pm

Totally clean play. Barely a foul in the NBA.

Kid needs to toughen up if he wants to play ball.

DawginLex

February 21st, 2011
12:20 pm

Varsity Blues much more famous for whipped cream bikini……………………….

Buckeye

February 21st, 2011
12:21 pm

Intentional hard foul and technical if a player did that in a game? Did I miss a punch?

Paul H

February 21st, 2011
12:29 pm

Upon further review, it appears that it was more of a “shove” than a punch, but still out of line. And the school was way out of line for trying to cover it up. Now it looks bad for them to fire him.

Paul H

February 21st, 2011
12:30 pm

Mitch Cumstein. Did that go over everyone’s heads?

DawginLex

February 21st, 2011
12:33 pm

My beef with it is that the push/shove/punch whatever was not used to teach anything basketball related. It was just a grown man lashing out physically at one of his players. I would have loved to have seen the kid sucker punch the coach on film.

Think the coach would have been happy? Would he have believed he was making him tougher?

DawginLex

February 21st, 2011
12:35 pm

buckeye,

Dawgs back off the bubble.

BOILER UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GTBob

February 21st, 2011
12:39 pm

He certainly went too far. I’m not sure this should end his career but a suspension seems like a fair punishment. Part of it to me smells like a player who is not happy with his situation on the team and is getting back at his coach. I’m guessing after this that a lot of coaches are going to quit taping their practices.

Dawglasville

February 21st, 2011
12:42 pm

They must only teach the Old Testament at Holy Family University.

NCBravesFan

February 21st, 2011
12:42 pm

Three step process to clean this up:

1. Unemployment line.

2. Assault charges.

3. Civil suit.

That guy has no business being around student athletes unless he can learn to control his anger. There’s a huge difference between running a tough drill and being abusive.

StingerSplash

February 21st, 2011
12:43 pm

20 Hail Marys, 20 Our Fathers and five consecutive Rosarys. Oh, four straight Saturdays working the line at the soup kitchen and two months with the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Paul in RDU

February 21st, 2011
12:44 pm

The whole thing is completely inexcusable – O’Conner should be terminated.
I would guess that if the school had done something about the coach’s behavior shortly after it happened (reprimand? written apology to the player and the rest of the team?) that it may have blown over. Trying to hide the problem, ignoring the legitimate concerns of the player in question and his parents, etc. just escalated the matter until the player obviously thought he had no recourse but to file an assault charge.
O’Connor may well have lost his job if he had admitted the issue immediately, but he’ll not only lose his job no – he’ll be unemployed as a coach for a long time.
He should change his name to Norman Dale, join the navy for 10 years and then make a comeback at a HS in Indiana

DawginLex

February 21st, 2011
12:47 pm

nice Hoosiers reference Paul

Mike Leach

February 21st, 2011
12:51 pm

Should have sent him to isolation in the electrical closet! Wait, that may not work either.

5150 UOAD

February 21st, 2011
12:53 pm

Looks like every NBA game I have seen in the last few years. Coach was wrong, but if he wants to play with the big boys he better be ready for type of play.

south georgia man

February 21st, 2011
12:55 pm

Man….. this i so dum. METRO WUSSES!!!! Us people here in south ga are fine with this. Coaches hit and cuss at players EVERY DAY!!!!!!! Please!!!! Come by rural georgia 2 see how we do it!!

Bruce Mac

February 21st, 2011
12:56 pm

Rough day for the GT Thugs. First a DUI of former player now an assault by former coach. What a bunch of criminals are being employed by the Institute. Embarrasing, just embarrasing.

5150 UOAD

February 21st, 2011
1:00 pm

Bruce Mac
Jack has nothing to do at TECH and O’Conner doesn’t work for TECH. How does TECH have anything to do with this? Yes, Jack is an Ex-Tech player but he is not employed by Tech.