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updated: 4/18/2013 11:48 AM

Coaching controversy embroils ex-suburban star

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  • Wisconsin-Green Bay coach Brian Wardle, who led the Phoenix to a 18-15 record last season, is under investigation by school officials following two complaints by players who have left the program.

      Wisconsin-Green Bay coach Brian Wardle, who led the Phoenix to a 18-15 record last season, is under investigation by school officials following two complaints by players who have left the program.
    Associated Press/2012 file

 
Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The father of one University of Wisconsin-Green Bay basketball player has spoken out in support of coach Brian Wardle, who is under investigation amid allegations he mistreated players.

The university's investigation into Wardle, a Marquette grad and former three-time Daily Herald All-Area basketball star at Hinsdale Central, began last week after complaints were filed on behalf of two players.

Orrin Brown, the father of junior center Alec Brown, said his son has never reported any kind of abuse or mistreatment.

"He's always thought of Coach Wardle as a very demanding and passionate coach but never complained about any treatment that he has received or even observed from Brian," Orrin Brown told the Green Bay Press-Gazette for a story published Wednesday. "He's never felt the need to involve any of us in interactions or dealing with the coach, and we've never felt like we needed to intervene on his behalf."

The university announced last week that it was investigating Wardle after receiving a complaint from the parents of former freshman center Ryan Bross. The parents of a second player, senior forward Brennan Cougill, also have filed a complaint. Bross' parents have declined to discuss the specifics of their complaint. Cougill's mother, Gina Cougill, accused Wardle of minimizing her son's clinical depression as a "distraction" to the team.

Orrin Brown said others have sent letters to the university supporting Wardle.

"All of our experiences with Brian have always been very positive," he said. "He truly cares and has concern for our son, and I would assume all the young men in his program, not only as a basketball player and as a student. Alec has done nothing but grow in all ways since he's been there, and Brian is largely responsible for that."

Wardle, a native of Willowbrook, has declined to comment until the investigation is completed. In Wardle's three seasons, the UW-Green Bay Phoenix have posted a 47-48 record. This season UWGB finished 18-15 overall and tied for third place in the Horizon League. Wardle played for Marquette from 1997-2001 and finished his collegiate career as the school's third leading scorer.

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