On June 26, Winona State basketball coach Mike Leaf suddenly announced his resignation after a complaint about him was filed to the school. The complaint was kept confidential, until Friday.
According to the Winona Daily News, the person who filed a complaint, a player of Leaf’s, came forward and claimed that he was sexually molested by his coach.
The alleged assault took place on June 20 at Leaf’s house, when the player visited to chat about basketball, but instead was pressured into drinking. He would later return to his apartment, but after he had trouble finding his keys, passed out for a few minutes outside of the door.
When the player arrived at his apartment, he was unable to find his keys, so he sat down against a wall and used his cellphone to message friends to let him in. He was tired, stressed about his encounter with Leaf, and intoxicated, and soon, he said, he passed out for a few minutes.
He awoke to find Leaf standing over him.
Leaf was angry. He swore, accused the player of being irresponsible for walking home. At one point he recalled Leaf saying, “I own you. Let’s go back to my house right now.”
The player hesitated. He didn’t want to return to Leaf’s house. But he wanted to take care of his coach. So he walked with Leaf home, holding Leaf up at times, he said.
The next thing the player remembered it was shortly after midnight and he woke up lying in Leaf’s bed, with Leaf breathing heavily in his ear. Leaf was touching his torso, his leg, his arm, and then began kissing his neck, the player said.
The player tried to rise from the bed, at which point Leaf held him and said, according to the player: “This isn’t what you think it is. You’re in my company. You’ll be fine.”
The player broke free, gathered his things, and tried to leave. Leaf approached him and suggested they should each punch each other. Leaf swung at him three times, and missed each time, the player said.
Then, the player said, Leaf began to cry.
“He said, ‘After all I’ve done for you and after all I’ve done for you guys.’” the player recalled. “He was calling us names. ‘I’ve done this for you, I’ve taken all of you in. This is how you treat me.’
The player never reported the incident to police, but did tell his teammates. Word then got to an assistant coach, who then notified the school AD and administrator, and an official complaint was filed. Five days later, Leaf resigned.
The player also stated that he will stay at Winona State, expressing his satisfaction for how the school has handled the situation.