Blog Entry

Syracuse fires Bernie Fine

Posted on: November 27, 2011 8:03 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 7:34 am
By Gary Parrish

Syracuse University announced Sunday that associate head coach Bernie Fine has been terminated.

"At the direction of Chancellor Cantor, (Syracuse associate men's basketball coach) Bernie Fine’s employment with Syracuse University has been terminated, effective immediately," Syracuse University Senior Vice President for Public Affairs Kevin Quinn said via a statement on the school's athletics website.

This development comes on the same day audio was made public from a phone conversation between Fine's wife and Bobby Davis. Davis is one of three men who have alleged they were sexually abused by Fine while they were children. In the conversation, Fine's wife, Laurie Fine, appears to confirm that she was aware that Fine molested Davis. She said her husband "has issues."

"I know everything that went on, you know," she said on the call. "I know everything that went on with him ... Bernie has issues, maybe that he's not aware of, but he has issues ... And you trusted somebody you shouldn't have trusted. ... Bernie is also in denial. I think that he did the things he did, but he's somehow through his own mental telepathy has erased them out of his mind."

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim last week strongly defended Fine and accused the first two alleged victims -- former Syracuse ball boys Bobby Davis and Mike Lang -- of lying and trying to extort money. Boeheim released a statement late Sunday about an hour after Fine was fired and indicated he regretted attacking the accusers.

“The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing and deeply troubling," Boeheim said. "I am personally very shocked because I have never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged. I believe the university took the appropriate step tonight. What is most important is that this matter be fully investigated and that anyone with information be supported to come forward so that the truth can be found. I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse."

Syracuse chancellor Nancy Cantor also released a statement late Sunday.

"All of us have the responsibility, individually and collectively, to ensure that Syracuse University remains a safe place for every campus community member and everyone with whom we interact on a daily basis on campus or in the community as part of our learning, scholarship, or work," she said. "We do not tolerate abuse.  If anything good comes out of this tragedy, it will be that this basic principle is reinforced."

The 65-year-old Fine was in his 36th season at Syracuse. He was placed on administrative leave on Nov. 17 after police confirmed they were investigating charges of molestation, and after ESPN aired interviews of Davis and Lang alleging Fine sexually abused them. The case seemed to stall for a few days after that, but police raided Fine's home Friday, and the damaging audio of the phone conversation between Davis and Fine's wife was made public early Sunday around the same time a third accuser publicly surfaced, too.

"It was the [Jerry] Sandusky stuff that came out that really made me think about it," the third accuser, Zach Tomaselli, told the Syracuse Post-Standard. "A lot of people were slamming ESPN and Bobby for saying anything. I wanted to come out. ... It made me sick to see all that support for Fine at that point. I was positive he was guilty."

Tomaselli, 23, told the Associated Press on Sunday that he's told police that Fine molested him in 2002 in a Pittsburgh hotel room the night before the Orange played Pittsburgh. He said Fine touched him "multiple times" in that one incident. Tomaselli's father, Fred Tomaselli, told the Associated Press that he thinks his son is lying.

"I'm 100 percent sure that Bernie Fine was never in contact with Zach," Fred Tomaselli said. "He never went to Pittsburgh to a game, never been to that arena. ... I brought him to a couple of games in Syracuse. We always sat in the nosebleed section and left after the game. He never stayed for any overnighters and never even got within shouting distance of Bernie."

Photo: AP


Since: Oct 17, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2011 10:29 am

Syracuse fires Bernie Fine

As they got off the airplane and walked to baggage claim, "hey, Jim, can I have that back-up point guard stay with me?  I haven't had him since our trip to South Bend last year"......wake up america, everyone, knew everything.  Basketball teams are like a traveling family.  Mark my words....

Since: Jan 19, 2007
Posted on: November 28, 2011 9:48 am

Syracuse fires Bernie Fine

Currently everything that we know is that it happened at Bernie's house from what the audio recording states. So none of this happened on campus so this is an idividual matter until something comes out differently. One man with one problem, if more comes out that says otherwise then further actions should be taken. When someone does this in the business world does the CEO or President lose their job, I think not. Why, because it wasn't done under their watch. Let's be real here. Jumping to conclusions got us here in the first place. It will all come out.

Since: Feb 27, 2011
Posted on: November 28, 2011 9:46 am

Syracuse fires Bernie Fine

Where is ESPN camping out on Jim Boeheim's front yard? Where's the outrage for him to be fired too?  He should be gone faster than Joe Paterno...

Since: Feb 8, 2008
Posted on: November 28, 2011 9:42 am

Syracuse fires Bernie Fine

I can't agree more with the comments below. I said to myself weeks ago that Boeheim was truly going out on a limb with his insenstive remarks and staunch defense of his longtime assistant. If those allegations were to come true ( which looks like they now have) Boeheim should be fired. Wow , Syracuse, did you learn nothing from Penn State?

Since: Nov 21, 2008
Posted on: November 28, 2011 9:03 am

Syracuse fires Bernie Fine

Boeheim's mindset troubled me some years ago when he proposed that 5-fouls be eliminated so star players could play as long as possible. Fairness is not one of his virtues if he unloaded on victims who came forth. It cannot be easy to come forth with such a stain regardless of mental or monetary considerations. What barn do you sleep in Jim?

Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: November 28, 2011 8:51 am

Syracuse fires Bernie Fine

See Ya Boeheim, if he doesnt get fired, this will be an outrage!!!

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: November 28, 2011 7:46 am

Syracuse fires Bernie Fine

Wait a minute Syracuse. Just 2 weeks ago these allegations were a "house of lies" and you had done a complete investigation and found nothing. And now you and Boeheim are throwing the guy under the bus, maybe to save your own hides? Again, as Switzer said about being a head coach with tons of power, you know everything going on and either choose to do the right thing or not - there are no gray areas here folks, not when it comes to this. Ohio St., USC, and Cam Newton's dad don't look so bad now, do they.

Since: Apr 7, 2009
Posted on: November 28, 2011 6:02 am

Syracuse fires Bernie Fine

I'm sorry but Jim Boeheim needs to be fired for his comments.  An apology is not enough.  If you're going to stick your neck out for a coach in that kind of manner you better be so sure of the facts that you're ready to go down with him.  Instead you ran your mouth without knowing all the facts and potentially damaging a victim by calling him a liar.  No problem viemently defending your's just when you do that you better be ready to go down with him if you're found to be wrong.  You're now known for adomently defending a child a molester and potentially harming a victim Jim!  Time to pack your bags!!!

Since: Mar 22, 2010
Posted on: November 28, 2011 3:03 am

Syracuse fires Bernie Fine

I agree with you Jim should have kept his mouth shut untill the final investigation was over.  By saying what he did to the 2 boys makes me wonder if he was trying to hide facts he already knew about the abuse. I think Syracuse has to fire him for what he said to these boys plus Syracuse University has to proctect themselves from law suits. I am sure there will be a couple of law suits and to retain Jim would show the school supports what Jim was in charge of which is making sure his coach's under him keep a good moral obligation as is needed to give the school a good name. As a Ohio State fan I did not want Tressell to go but what he did he brought it  upon himself for breaking the rules, but what Penn State and Syracuse are going through Tressell looks like a saint. 

Since: Mar 11, 2007
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:08 am

Syracuse fires Bernie Fine

Gregg, just playing devil's advocate here. I mean, this isn't Louisiana or France where you are guilty until proven innocent.

Just suppose a complete and full investigation by the local police, the NYS troopers, and the Feds shows that all the accusations are false and the taped phone conversation with Laurie Fine has been edited and pieced back together from several conversations unrelated to the cuurent investigation (as Laurie Fine has said they were). What if it is proven that the accusers were looking for a payday from this as Jim Boeheim said.

In your opinion, who should be fired then? Mark Schwarz? Nancy Cantor?? YOU, perhaps???

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