Mike Leaf, who coached the Winona State men's basketball team to a pair of national championships, resigned after one of his players revealed Leaf made unwanted, drunken sexual advances.
Leaf, a Winona native who served as Warriors head coach for 17 seasons, resigned on June 26, six days after the incident with a player.
The Winona Daily News reported Friday that Leaf, 54, played host to the player at Leaf's house during a day in which the coach drank heavily. Leaf made unwanted advances toward the player, followed the player home and later made more advances.
The player and six of his teammates met with the Daily News on Thursday; all spoke with the newspaper on the condition of confidentiality.
The player said he filed a formal complaint with the university June 21, the day following the incidents. The university told the Daily News it is actively investigating a complaint against Leaf. The player has not reported the incident to police.
Winona State officials issued a statement late Friday. "The University received a complaint related to Mr. Leaf on Sunday, June 22. He was placed on administrative leave at 7 a.m. Monday, June 23," and Leaf resigned June 26. "We commend students for being forthcoming when notifying the University about any complaint."
Leaf coached in the Warriors program for 28 seasons, and as head coach he had 382 victories and a pair of NCAA Division II titles.
He texted the Daily News that he was not available to talk, then texted that he would not comment. Leaf has been barred from campus and has been told to have no contact with students or faculty, the newspaper reported.
The player who filed the complaint told the Daily News he stopped by Leaf's house on June 20 to talk basketball, which is not unusual for players, who frequently get together at the coach's home. The player said Leaf drank at the house and when the two went to pick up pizzas; they also drank at a bar with another Winona State student.
At the coach's home later that night, Leaf gave the two students drinks during dinner, the Daily News reported. About 11 p.m., the coach made advances and tried to stop the player from leaving. The player went to his apartment building, but Leaf followed. The player said he also was intoxicated, unable to find his keys and briefly passed out. He awoke, he told the paper, to find Leaf standing over him, demanding he return to Leaf's house.
The player said he was concerned about his coach and helped him return home, he told the Daily News. At Leaf's home, the coach made more unwanted advances. When the player tried to leave, Leaf suggested they should punch each other, then started to cry, telling the player, "After all I've done for you and after all I've done for you guys … I've done this for you, I've taken all of you in. This is how you treat me."
The player told the Daily News he left Leaf's house and returned to his apartment where he told his girlfriend and his roommate, also a basketball player, what happened. They notified two other players, who went to Leaf's house, where no one answered the door, the paper reported.
The next morning, players tried to contact Leaf, who didn't respond. Eventually, the Daily News reported, Leaf texted the player, writing "U good?"
The player sent a text message back: "I'm very shaken up." Leaf responded: "Where r u? Me too!!!!!!!! U need to come to my house for breakfast!!!!" and, "Is everything ok?"
The player responded: "I'm just very shaken up about what happened last night."
Leaf responded: "What happened? I am sorry if I did something wrong!!! I don't remember much at all!!"
The player blocked Leaf's number later that day. He hasn't made contact with his former coach since, he said.
That day, June 21, players met with Winona State athletic director Eric Schoh and two others and the complaint was filed, the Daily News reported. The players also told the newspaper Thursday that they wanted to set the record straight after rumors had been sweeping Winona and were also concerned for Leaf's well-being.
The player who filed the complaint told the Daily News he was staying on the team.
"I wanted to leave and go home for a while," the player said. "But I love these guys [teammates] too much. I didn't want to leave them. Brothers go through everything together."
Winona State named Todd Eisner as its new coach Monday.
School President Scott Olson told the Daily News there was no timeline for the university to complete its investigation.
To read the Winona Daily News story go to winonadailynews.com.