Albany civil rights leaders rally on behalf of embattled UAlbany men’s basketball coach Dwayne Killings
University at Albany men’s basketball coach Dwayne Killings, who just completed his first season, is on leave from the team during an investigation. But details are scarce.
While the probe continues, a coalition of Albany area leaders pledged their support today.
A little over a year ago the University at Albany introduced its first new men’s basketball coach in two decades. Dwayne Killings was introduced and 20-year coach Will Brown moved on to lead the Albany Patroons.
It’s Killings’ first head coaching job. But after an up-and-down season where the Great Danes finished 13-18, Stadium Monday reported Killings is accused of striking a player during a road trip late in November. According to the report, Killings claimed the contact was an accident.
In a statement to WAMC, UAlbany said it learned of the incident in late February and immediately began an investigation that is ongoing. UAlbany has not responded to questions about the incident or the probe.
Supporters say the Amherst, Massachusetts native went above and beyond when it came to reaching out and bridging the gap between college and community.
Business and civil rights leaders spoke Thursday at the Fort Orange Club in support of the coach while calling on UAlbany to be more transparent about the investigation.
Center for Law and Justice Executive Director Alice Green says the community is concerned.
"It's very important also for our community, to have among us, very positive, particularly Black men, who can be models and can help our young, guide our young people in the community," said Green. "And I think they found someone at the university to do that. And that's Coach Killings. There also is a very strong connection we see between the community and the university. It's part of our community, we don't see this separate. So what goes on there affects all of us.”
UAlbany issued a statement after the rally, which says in part, "While the University recognizes and understands this is a matter of public interest and that there may be incomplete information circulating publicly, it cannot disclose information that would violate student privacy and will not discuss personnel matters publicly."
It goes on to promise a full and fair investigation.
In the short time Killings has been in town, Albany businessman Marcus Pryor says he's been on a fast track establishing himself as a mentor and community leader.
"Coach has been here for just under a year, he and his beautiful wife and two children purchased a home in Albany, they've invested in the community," Pryor said. "They have, both professionally and personally, become involved in the community. And some of us here, I think, can speak to that, and become involved in the community. And we're certainly aware and quite frankly, grateful of the university's understanding of the importance between connecting with the university bringing the wall down between the university and the community."
Pryor and Green say Killings’ backers are seeking clarity.
"I don't know the intimate details of it. I just know that I've got a man who's invested, that we have a man who's invested a great deal in this community, and is scared for his job and wants to stay here," said Pryor.
Green said "We can no longer continue to just decide who should be a part of our community without due process. And so we will be following this. We will be speaking out about it. And more and more. I think the community will express its concerns about this specifically."
Pryor says he intends to meet with UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez, who has been away on a university trip.
Pryor says Killings is still employed at the college. Killings is making a base salary of $365,000 on a contract that runs through the end of the 2025-2026 season.