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Duke, Ex-Lacrosse Coach Reach Settlement

Posted June 7, 2007
Updated June 8, 2007

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— Duke University has reached a financial settlement with Mike Pressler, the former men's lacrosse coach who lost his job in the wake of since-debunked rape allegations involving his team.

Though the university would not disclose terms of the deal, a school official confirmed Thursday that Duke had reached "an amicable, fair financial settlement" with Pressler a few months ago.

"Coach Pressler is an excellent coach and did a great job building the Duke men's lacrosse program," John Burness, Duke's vice president for public affairs, told The Associated Press. "Unfortunately, last spring, it was essential for the team to have a change of leadership in order to move forward.

"We regret the negative consequences this decision had on Coach Pressler. He and Duke reached an amicable, fair financial settlement in which Duke recognized his contributions to the lacrosse program and the circumstances of his departure."

Lee Southren, Pressler's agent, declined to comment Thursday night.

Pressler was in his 16th season at Duke when a woman told police that she had been attacked by three players at a March 2006 team party where she was hired to perform as a stripper. The allegations eventually led the university in Durham to cancel the remainder of the highly ranked team's season and accept Pressler's resignation.

Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans were indicted on charges of rape, kidnapping and sexual offense. They were later cleared by state prosecutors, who called them "innocent" victims of a "tragic rush to accuse."

The Blue Devils returned to field this season and reached the NCAA championship game under first-year coach John Danowski, losing by a goal to Johns Hopkins on Memorial Day.

Pressler is the only Duke official who lost a job as a result of the case, even though an internal university investigation concluded he was the only school employee to take significant action when accusations of wrongdoing – including disorderly conduct and public urination – emerged about the lacrosse team.

He finished his Duke career with 153 wins, three Atlantic Coast Conference championships and 10 trips to the NCAA tournament. He was named the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association's coach of the year in 2005. He now coaches at Division II Bryant in Rhode Island.

Pressler has helped write a book, "It's Not About the Truth," about his experience. It goes on sale Tuesday, the same day the prosecutor who labeled the lacrosse players "hooligans" goes on trial for several alleged ethics violations tied to his handling of the case.

20 Comments

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  • richard2 Jun 9, 2007

    I wonder what the final dollar figure will be after Duke pays for running and hiding and not waiting for all the info to come out. Show some backbone and do whats right.

  • beachboater Jun 8, 2007

    Why is it important to a story, and for that matter, why is it news to once again list the names of the three players that never even went to trial for crimes that the attorney general of the state of North Carolina said they didn't commit.

    Why???????? Does WRAL want to make sure that nobody in North Carolina could ever possibly not know those names? or their faces?

    I think Sharpton said he wasn't apologizing because he still thinks they did it. Or at least he thinks that is what I think that he said, but it's not really what he said.

    Carefully worded, "HECK!" Maybe the three should get their attorneys to send a letter to WRAL as well as Nifong and company. How much can you assinate someone's character?

    I wonder how long this will stay up? hahaha.

  • ussstink Jun 8, 2007

    Hey tgcmisc-Good Idea, let's dismiss EVERY coach of a player, or players, who have done something stupid! Leave no responsibility to the players, please. One of my players skipped school, should I have been dissmissed? Should have Coach K been dismissed when Redick got his DUI?

  • Jenbo Jun 8, 2007

    arrcee "I always figured the coach was let go because of the underage drinking and the party with the stripper. I didn't figure it had anything to do with the rape allegation."

    BINGO!

  • arrcee Jun 8, 2007

    I'm surprised they needed to "settle" -- I always figured the coach was let go because of the underage drinking and the party with the stripper. I didn't figure it had anything to do with the rape allegation.

    I also don't see how the coach has been "vindicated".

    Of course, without the news story, the parties and drinking and so forth would have continued unabated.

    rc

  • Jenbo Jun 8, 2007

    Num8Volvo -- Gee, I am not surprised that a university that grossly mishandled this whole thing does an internal investigation into its own actions, and lo, the poor coach - and only the coach - is vindicated. I don't buy it. Look at the various news archives, and the reports written at the time (when these separate incidents occurred, not just the infamous party) paint a different picture.

  • Rabid Wolf Jun 8, 2007

    It was definitely the coaches fault . . . . had he taught them better they may have come up with a dancer better looking than Crystal G.

  • tgcmisc Jun 8, 2007

    Why would you pay the the coach a "settlement" when it was HIS lack of action that lead to the various arrests. He should have HAD MORE CONTROL over his team and also REALIZE what they were up to. He should have been DISMISSED WITHOUT ANY SETTLEMENT. Shows the Libs can't handle the truth or figure out how to take responsibility.

  • MarvinsWife12 Jun 8, 2007

    Jenbo which part of "ven though an internal university investigation concluded he was the only school employee to take significant action when accusations of wrongdoing – including disorderly conduct and public urination – emerged about the lacrosse team" did you not understand?

  • ljcs357 Jun 8, 2007

    Wral, which one is it? You have him being indentified as Mike Pressler in the article and Larry Pressler in the picture beside the article.

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