The College of Charleston fired embattled basketball coach Doug Wojcik on Tuesday, ending weeks of speculation and turmoil that has engulfed the program.
The move came more than a month after the school launched an investigation into allegations that Wojcik verbally and physically abused his players.
College president Glenn McConnell announced the firing in an email to the campus late Tuesday afternoon.
"I have made the decision to terminate head men's basketball coach Doug Wojcik's employment at the College of Charleston for just cause, pursuant to the terms of his contract, effective immediately," McConnell said in the statement. "I greatly appreciate your patience and understanding while the College works to find the best path forward for the men's basketball program."
Wojcik, 50, was 38-29 in two seasons with the Cougars, but was coming off a disappointing 14-18 campaign in Charleston's first year in the Colonial Athletic Association. It was Charleston's first losing record since going 16-17 during the 2007-08 season in Bobby Cremins' second year as the Cougars' head coach.
Players were informed of the school's decision to fire Wojcik just before the start of a two-hour workout Tuesday, a source confirmed to The Post and Courier.
The players were upbeat at the end of practice, but were not made available for comment.
"They really didn't have much of a reaction," the source said. "I think they were just relieved that it's over."
In firing Wojcik for "just cause," the College is attempting to avoid paying the coach the $1.2 million he's due for the final three years of his contract.
Wojcik could not be reached for comment, but his attorney released a statement saying the firing "will not bring closure to the College."
Scott Tompsett, Wojcik's Kansas City-based attorney, said the College was "desperate to invent a reason" to fire Wojcik, and said the school "did not make a good faith agreement to reach a settlement with Wojcik."
When reached by phone, Tompsett declined to comment on whether Wojcik would file a wrongful termination lawsuit.
"We have attempted several times since president McConnell took office on July 1 to engage the College in discussions to settle this matter amicably," Tompsett said in his statement. "That means a reasonable settlement of the amount owed under Coach Wojcik's contract in return for a full release of litigation claims against the College, its officers and employees."
One of the leading candidates to replace Wojcik is former College of Charleston guard Anthony Johnson.
Johnson, who played for the Cougars from 1992-97, interviewed for the position in 2012 just before Wojcik was hired.
"I'm definitely interested in the job," Johnson, who played in the NBA for 13 seasons, said Tuesday. "I didn't want to comment on the job as long as coach Wojcik was running the program. I have not been contacted by anyone from the College, but I'm hoping to have those conversations in the very near future."
Johnson has been a scout for the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans the last two seasons. The former Stall High School standout has no coaching experience.
"I know I'm ready for this challenge," Johnson said. "If there are any doubts about my qualifications for this job, I think I can put those to rest during the interview process."
Other possible candidates include former Boston College coach Al Skinner, who owns a home on the Isle of Palms; Clemson assistant coach Earl Grant; and Tulane assistant coach Shammond Williams.
While Johnson has never recruited for a college program, he said his vast contacts with the AAU summer basketball circuits will give him an edge.
"I've been around the game of basketball for a long time and know a lot of people involved at the AAU and high school level," Johnson said. "I've had a long relationship with the shoe companies and those representatives, so I'm confident I'll be able to hit the ground running when it comes to recruiting."
The College of Charleston will open the 2014-15 season at Furman on Nov. 15. The Cougars' home opener will be against Gardner-Webb on Nov. 17.
Since the middle of May, the College has launched two investigations into Wojcik's actions during his tenure as the school's basketball coach. The first was completed at the end of June and concluded with a 50-page report that exposed dozens of allegations of Wojcik lashing out at players with obscenities, personal attacks and physical threats.
Hull told players during a meeting on June 30 that he was going to fire Wojcik. However, outgoing president George Benson overruled Hull and suspended Wojcik without pay for the month of August and ordered him to undergo mandatory counseling, multiple sources confirmed.
The College's second investigation, which began in July under McConnell, was an attempt to find cause to fire Wojcik, despite the agreement that was reached between Benson and the coach, sources confirmed.
That second probe was prompted after former Cougars guard Trevonte Dixon claimed he was physically abused by Wojcik twice during the 2012-13 season. Dixon claims to have been assaulted during an exhibition game in Canada during the preseason and again during a road game against Elon in 2012.
Dixon also alleges that Wojcik threw basketballs at players during several practices.
Tompsett, however, provided The Post and Courier with video footage of the Cougars' game with Elon on Dec. 1, 2012, when one of the alleged incidents took place.
Tompsett also provided 30 minutes of practice video that appears to contradict Dixon's claims.
Jeff Hartsell contributed to this report.
Charleston coach Doug Wojcik yells out to his players during their game Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 at TD Arena. File/Paul Zoeller/Staff×
Charleston Cougars head coach Doug Wojcik looks on in the second half of the game between Towson State and the College of Charleston Jan. 19, 2014 at TD Arena . Towson Tigers defeats the Cougars 72-57. (File/Shane Roper/Special to The Post and Courier)×
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