Dean Smith and Rick Barnes were fined $2,500 each for the
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) _ Dean Smith and Rick Barnes were fined $2,500 each for the heated argument the coaches had during the ACC tournament.
The penalties against the North Carolina and Clemson coaches were announced Wednesday by the Atlantic Coast Conference and it is thought to be the first time the league levied a financial penalty as punishment for actions by its coaches. The coaches will contribute the money to local charities of their choice.
``I believe this action is in the best interest of our conference as it places sportsmanship as a highest goal,″ ACC commissioner Gene Corrigan said Wednesday night. ``It was a regrettable incident and one which we now put behind us.″
Barnes said he would abide by the ruling.
``I regret that this incident took place. We must hold sportsmanship in a high regard,″ Barnes said. ``This closes the book on this matter and I will tell my team that this closes the book on this matter.″
Smith could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
Late in the second half of the first-round ACC tournament game in March, Tigers forward Iker Iturbe was called for a foul on Tar Heels forward Jerry Stackhouse. Smith apparently took exception to the foul, which he thought was too rough, and began pointing and yelling at Iturbe.
During a subsequent timeout, the coaches met at the scorer’s table. An argument ensued, and they had to be separated and their benches restrained.
The argument was the climax to what had developed into a feud between the schools in the 1994-95 season. The Tar Heels complained the Tigers were too physical in their game at Clemson. Barnes was ejected from that game after arguing with the officials, in part because North Carolina took 51 foul shots while the Tigers shot seven and were whistled for 32 fouls.
North Carolina again complained about Clemson’s rough play in the rematch in Chapel Hill.
Following the argument at the tournament between Smith and Barnes, tempers continued to boil and the teams had to be held back at the final buzzer when Donald Williams felt he was unnecessarily bumped in a game-ending alley-oop attempt. The teams left the floor by separate exits instead of using the same route to their dressing rooms.
Wednesday’s announcement was the first major penalty levied against ACC coaches in nine years.
In 1986, football coaches Danny Ford of Clemson and Bobby Ross of Maryland were suspended for one game for on-field actions. They sat in the press box in Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and watched the game, which ended in a 17-17 tie.
The previous year, Maryland had beaten Clemson 34-31 in the closing moments, at which point several Clemson players assaulted a Maryland player. Ford went on the field and yelled at an official, during which the referee’s field microphone was open.
The next season, Ross received his penalty after chasing the referees off the field in a loss to North Carolina. Ross had believed the Tar Heels had no timeouts remaining, as the scoreboard indicated incorrectly. The Tar Heels stopped the clock one last time and kicked a field goal to win the game 32-30.