Cal coach Cuonzo Martin declines to discuss school review

Mar 17, 2016 - 11:06 PM SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) California coach Cuonzo Martin said Thursday he's focused on the NCAA Tournament and he did not want to address a school review of how he handled allegations that led to the dismissal of assistant coach Yann Hufnagel.

Martin spoke ahead of California's NCAA Tournament opener against Hawaii on Friday where the Golden Bears are a No. 4 seed, their highest seeding in school history.

The university announced Wednesday that it was reviewing whether Martin properly handled sexual harassment allegations made by a female reporter against Hufnagel. Athletic director Mike Williams said the review is ''to dispel any doubts'' about Martin's role. Martin said he didn't ''want to deal with that right now'' on the cusp of the Golden Bears' opening game.

''That's a university issue and the most important thing for me is our basketball team playing the NCAA Tournament,'' Martin said. ''We'll deal with that at the appropriate time.''

Supervisors and managers are required to promptly forward any sexual misconduct complaints, and those who fail to do so may face discipline, campus policy says. That includes head coaches, Cal spokesman Dan Mogulof said Wednesday.

A report shows the university launched an inquiry into Hufnagel in early July after the female journalist sent Martin a long email describing in graphic detail the unwelcome advances she received from his assistant.

The journalist wrote the email six weeks after she first told Martin by phone about her concern Hufnagel was sexually harassing her. Her name and news organization were redacted from the report released Tuesday.

Martin said he wasn't concerned about any fallout of the review or whether his status as Cal's coach may come into question.

''I don't worry about those things to be totally honest with you. ... My job is this basketball team winning ball games, graduating young men, developing young men and anything else is a waste of time,'' Martin said.

Hufnagel, 33, is at least the fourth campus employee in the last year to face sexual harassment allegations that were substantiated during campus investigations. He said in a Tweet Wednesday that he has hired an attorney to fight Cal's decision to fire him.

In the Hufnagel case, the woman told investigators that Martin was livid when she initially voiced her concerns by phone in late May, telling her, ''I take this very seriously,'' and that he planned to speak with Hufnagel right away. Martin also told her to get back in touch with him in a few days, but they never connected, she said.

Instead, the journalist said she heard from Hufnagel via a Twitter message that read, ''I need to call you. What is your phone number?'' When she told Martin about the contact, she said Martin told her it was her choice whether or not to respond.

The redacted report does not make clear how Martin responded to the woman's follow-up email in July. But two days after she sent it, an associate athletic director contacted the university office that investigates sexual harassment.

Martin's name was not in the report, but the context made it clear that he was interviewed as a witness. He told campus investigators he did not get a sense from his initial phone conversation with the journalist that she felt she had been mistreated and ''denied that she provided any details or described anything as constituting sexual harassment.''

The woman also did not object when Martin said he would tell Hufnagel to call her, the head coach said.

The campus' Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination will be looking at the actions of other employees besides Martin during the review into the handling of the Hufnagel allegations, the university spokesman said.


Associated Press Writer Lisa Leff contributed to this report.

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