California coach Mike Montgomery called a timeout during Sunday’s 76-68 victory over USC, during which he shoved Golden Bears star guard Allen Crabbe.
The Cal Bears coach shoved Crabbe in the chest as players made their way into the huddle. Crabbe, an all-conference player last year, wasn’t very happy with the coaches’ actions and, after Richard Soloman stepped in to calm Crabbe down, made his way to the team’s locker room. Crabbe eventually made his way back out to the court before the end of the timeout.
The star guard came back in a big way, scoring 10 points in the last five minutes of the game as the Bears finished the game on a 25-7 run. Crabbe finished with 10 rebounds scoring 23 points for the Bears.
Following the game, California coach Mike Montgomery admitted to shoving the player, telling media officials that he wanted to motivate his star athlete.
Montgomery, according to Yahoo! Sports, said, “Nobody was ready to play … We were just standing. I was trying to get him going. Probably over-exaggerated it.”
Crabbe had this to say, “It was coach’s way of motivating me … Everything’s fine. It’s under the bridge. No hard feelings.”
USA Today reported that, following the incident, California athletics director Sandy Barbour and Mike Montgomery issued statements.
“Sunday’s game was an emotional one for everyone who cares deeply about our men’s basketball program, and the Bears certainly showed tremendous resolve coming back to earn a win over USC. However, it is unacceptable for our coaches to have physical contact with student-athletes regardless of the circumstances. The second-half incident was certainly out of character for Mike Montgomery, and I am confident that something like this will not happen again.”
“I have great passion for this game and tonight, I let my emotions get away from me in the heat of the moment. While my intent was to motivate our student-athletes, my behavior was inappropriate and I apologize for my actions.”
Here’s a clip that shows the heated exchange:
It’s possible that the school or the Pac-12 Conference could decide to punish the coach for his actions.