Georgetown women’s basketball players brought their complaints of verbal abuse by Coach Keith Brown to the university two weeks ago, assistant vice president for communications Stacy Kerr said in an e-mail Wednesday.
The school has placed Brown and assistant Tim Valentine on indefinite administrative leave as it investigates accusations of unprofessional conduct and use of improper language toward student-athletes. The school’s Institute of Diversity, Equality and Affirmative Action, in conjunction with outside counsel, is coordinating the investigation.
The school declined a request for comment from Georgetown Athletic Director Lee Reed, explaining officials did not want to do anything that might compromise the integrity of the ongoing investigation. WJLA (Channel 7) first reported the players’ accusations Monday night.
The women’s basketball team, which began practice Sept. 29, opens the season Nov. 8, and practices are expected to go on as planned, according to women’s basketball sports information director Barbara Barnes. During Brown’s absence, assistant coaches Krystal-Reeves Evans and Kenya Kirkland will direct the program.
Brown took over as coach of the Hoyas in May 2012 after serving as the top assistant and head recruiter for the previous five seasons under then-head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. Within weeks of his appointment, he hired Valentine, a former assistant at Elon University in North Carolina.
Since Brown’s promotion, multiple players have left the program, including Taylor Brown, the Washington Post All-Met Player of the Year in 2011 from Bishop McNamara. Brown played in all 32 games for the Hoyas in 2011-12, when the team advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament, before transferring to George Mason.
Jasmine Jackson played at Georgetown for the past two seasons until transferring to George Mason in July. She played in 30 games last season, averaging 4.2 points as the Hoyas finished 15-16 to miss the NCAA tournament for the first time in four years.
In the wake of the accusations, several of Brown’s former players rose to his defense, including four-year starter Monica McNutt, who ranks second in school history in career games played and third in three-point accuracy. McNutt was among Brown’s top recruits in 2007 when he was an assistant to Williams-Flournoy.
“I had a blast with Keith. In terms of someone that’s there for you, he’s that guy,” McNutt said in a telephone interview. “The problem I have with what’s out there in the media is that it’s portraying him in a negative way, and that’s not who he is. I’m very disappointed in the whole situation.”
Other former players such as Monica Wright went to social media in support of Brown. Wright is the all-time scoring leader at the University of Virginia and played for Brown on the AAU youth circuit.
“Leave @GeorgetownBrown alone! All his xplayers wuld agree w me saying that he was the best coach n motivator nd above all FAMILY!” read a tweet from Wright’s Twitter account under the handle @monnie22.
Liz Clarke contributed to this report.