UAlbany's Killings breaks silence after investigation, suspension
University at Albany men’s basketball coach Dwayne Killings has made his first public statements since being suspended and fined.
UAlbany announced earlier this month Killings will be suspended for five games next season and fined $25,000 following an internal investigation into “inappropriate physical contact” with a member of the team last season.
The SUNY school received a complaint against Killings on February 27th and launched an investigation that included putting him on leave. Killings’ job status remained unclear for days, with the college and the coach tight-lipped. The investigation showed there was inappropriate physical contact between Killings and a player during a pre-game hype circle before a road game on November 24th.
After apologizing to the campus president in a published letter, Killings addressed reporters Thursday in a press conference streamed live by WTEN.
Killings repeatedly declined to answer specific questions about the incident or the investigation, instead focusing on how the team will approach replacing several transferring players and get ready for the fall.
He was asked whether he expected to be let go during the probe.
“I took that time just to, you know, again, just kind of go through the process. I mean, that's what it's always been about, you know, when you look at our team this past year, it's been about process, right? And we grew within it,” he said.
Killings wouldn’t discuss the November pre-game incident. He pushed back when asked if the program has a problem with transparency given the scant details released about his suspension.
“People are curious, which I get, but we have to trust the leadership,” he said.
UAlbany faulted Killings for failing to report the incident in a timely manner. As part of the punishment, he will pay a $25,000 fine to a local non-profit selected by UAlbany and will undergo mandatory training on reporting policies.
The 42-year-old is in his first head coaching job. He led UAlbany to a 13-18 finish in his maiden America East season. On Thursday, his focus was on putting the last several weeks in the rearview mirror.
“My reputation means a lot to me. It really, really does. I've worked really, really hard in this business. I've worked really hard to treat people the right way,” he said.
Killings was asked what his message for fans is after the tumultuous early offseason.
“My biggest message is, I would say, the growth that you saw this past year,” he said. “I think the growth for me as a coach, you know, I think where we started in game one to where we became, walking out of that, you know, tunnel and seeing almost a sold-out crowd seeing, you know, the most students ever in the history of the university at a college basketball game, it was tremendous. It was a great feeling. Who I became as the year went on, I think I grew as a coach in that respect.”