Fired Coach May Have Misused Money
EDINBURG, Texas (AP) _ Delray Brooks, fired after two seasons as basketball coach at Texas-Pan American, is the subject of a police investigation into possible misuse of university money.
The university’s police department has been investigating possible fraud involving athletic funds for about two months and Brooks is part of the investigation, campus Police Chief Howard Miller said Wednesday.
Brooks’ firing and that of assistants George Morgan and Patrick Harrington was announced Tuesday by the school.
School officials found ``improprieties″ with men’s basketball program funds and told police, Miller said. He declined to give details about the investigation except to describe it as ``white collar.″
``You don’t necessarily ... have a smoking gun,″ Miller said. ``You can only depend on paper trails and things of that sort.″
Ed Sharpe, the UT System’s vice chancellor for academic affairs, confirmed the school found improprieties while reconciling accounts. He said officials then contacted auditors and the police.
Although school administrators fired the coaches after conducting their own investigation, Miller said he’s holding off on drawing any conclusions until the investigation is complete and probably handed over to a grand jury.
``We’re being very objective,″ Miller said. ``We haven’t concluded anything. We are continuing to do a very thorough and in-depth investigation.″
The Brooks investigation is only the latest scandal to plague the Broncs’ basketball program.
In July 1996, the school lost its NCAA certification over charges that two assistant men’s basketball coaches improperly helped potential recruits with correspondence coursework.
The school received conditional certification in August 1997 and had its certification fully restored in May 1998. By then, the Sun Belt Conference had dropped the school, which remains independent.
Brooks, who did not return a phone call from The Associated Press on Wednesday, played at Indiana and Providence, helping Rick Pitino’s Friars reach the NCAA tournament Final Four in 1987. He enjoyed a fleeting pro career in the World Basketball League and Continental Basketball Association before joining Pitino’s coaching staff at Kentucky.
Brooks was there five years and went to three more Final Fours, winning the national championship in 1996.
Pan Am hired Brooks in 1997 with hopes he would restore the basketball program to its glory days.
Under Sam Williams, the coach from 1958 through 1973, the Broncs won the 1963 NAIA championship. Lucious Jackson, the star of that team, won an Olympic gold medal in 1964 and played for the Philadelphia 76ers team that won the NBA title in 1967.
Brooks was 8-46 in two seasons at Pan American.