West Virginia defensive soccer coordinator Vic Koenning was placed on administrative leave Tuesday after a defensive defense made allegations of mistreatment on social media.
Kerry Martin Jr., a Mountaineers sophomore, alleged that Koenning made callous remarks about immigrants, religion and people with intellectual disabilities.
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Starting again at Spring Ball 2019 before the boys started transferring, Coach Vic faced Derrek Pitts for believing in something he didn’t believe in. He would comment on the Bible and speak about religion in front of Derrek, which would make him want to question the things he believed in, ”Martin wrote.
The defensive back wrote: “I had my first incident with him after a mistake I made on the field that called me late for doing the wrong technique.”
He added that he has family members who suffer from mental illness.
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Martin then detailed a Monday meeting in which he claimed Koenning spoke about a conversation he had with his son about protests against racial injustice and police brutality.
“Coach Vic tells us about the conversation he had with his son about the riots and protests, and his exact words were: ‘If people did not want tear gas fired at them, or the police rejected them, then they should not be outside protesting, ” Martin wrote.
He concluded: “No, Coach Vic is not a bad person and has good intentions in many different ways, but his heinous actions towards us nullify the good things he has done and many of us are uncomfortable being around him.”
Shane Lyons, the West Virginia athletic director, released a statement on the allegations.
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“I want to thank Kerry Martin for having the courage to bring up their concerns,” said Lyons. “We will not tolerate any form of racism, discrimination or prejudice on our campus, including our sports programs. Coach Vic Koenning has been placed on administrative leave with immediate effect, and the department will work with the appropriate parties to conduct a thorough investigation of these allegations. This is serious, and we will act appropriately and in the best interest of our student athletes. “
In Martin’s statement, he recalled having had a conversation with his football coach John Carpenter about Koenning in which the coach allegedly told him that Koenning has a “slave owner mentality”. Carpenter told WV Sports Now that the conversation was not true.
West Virginia coach Neal Brown addressed the situation in a statement.
“After talking to Kerry, I took immediate action,” said Brown. Together with Shane and his team, we launched an independent investigation. I spoke to all parties involved, the defense as a unit and the team in general. Once again I emphasized to our team that our program culture will be one of acceptance, respect, tolerance, and positive relationships. I stressed to our team and staff that we will be open and transparent throughout the university process.
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“I will refrain from continuing to talk or comment on these issues until the University process is completed. I ask everyone to be patient as we work through this process as quickly as possible. We will listen, learn and grow from this together, as a family, to unite even more. ”
Other West Virginia players supported Martin.
Nicktroy Fortune, Sam James and Tony Mathis were among those who tweeted their support for Martin.
Martin had 50 tackles in his first season for the Mountaineers.