By Wallace Dooley
NASHVILLE, TN – Tennessee State University Athletics Director, Dr. Vivian Fuller, announced at the weekly football press luncheon today, that TSU head coach, L.C. Cole and assistant coach Johnnie Cole will serve a University imposed one-game suspension this weekend (10/24) during the TSU Homecoming game against the University of Tennessee-Martin.
Dr. Fuller prefaced her announcement by stating the head coach L.C. Cole and assistant coach Johnnie Cole were, "doing an outstanding job as far as moving this program forward." She continued, "As part of our recommendations in our report to the NCAA on the University’s investigation of the violations, this is something we said we would do (suspensions) and we need to get this behind us and move forward."
The suspension is a result of an internal University investigation that uncovered what the University termed three "minor" violations of NCAA rules by the football program. Tennessee State University has reported its findings and actions against the coaches to the NCAA. The NCAA’s rulings on its investigation of this case are expected to be released in the near future.
The press release issued at the press luncheon states "Under the terms of this suspension, neither coach will be permitted to serve in his coaching capacity, attend the game as a spectator or have any other means of communication with the football team during its game with Tennessee-Martin." Coach (L.C.) Cole indicated that on gameday he would stay at home with his young (10 months old) son and do some "father-son bonding." He remarked, "It would be too tough for me to listen (to the game) on the radio." "I’ll just watch for the score to flash on the TV or get a call after it’s over." Johnnie Cole did not attend the press luncheon and was unavailable for comment. When asked who would be handling the team against UT-Martin coach Cole indicated that assistant coach Jake Cabell would make the defensive calls and assistant coach Fred Kaiss would make the offensive calls, with Cabell being responsible for the whole team.
This is an Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) game for both Tennessee State (4-2, 2-1) and Tennessee-Martin (0-6, 0-3). The Tigers of Nashville are in the thick of the OVC title race after chalking up a 31-21 victory over previously eighth-ranked Eastern Kentucky, two weeks ago (10/10) and blowing out Southeast Missouri State 38-7 last week (10/17). Johnnie Cole, (L.C. Cole’s brother), the offensive coordinator, has Tennessee State leading the OVC in EVERY offensive category and in the top ten of eight NCAA offensive categories. Both Cole brothers are in their third season at Tennessee State University. L.C. Cole played collegiately at the University of Nebraska and Johnnie Cole played collegiately at Texas Southern University.
The following is the text of the Tennessee State Press Release:
Football Coaches to Serve One- Game Suspension
Tennessee State University Head Football Coach L.C. Cole and Assistant Football Coach Johnnie Cole will serve a University imposed one-game suspension for alleged violations of NCAA rules in the football program. Under the terms of this suspension, neither coach will be permitted to serve in his coaching capacity, attend the game as a spectator or have any other means of communication with the football team during its game with Tennessee-Martin on Oct. 24 in Hale Stadium.
The suspensions are being imposed after an internal investigation determined that NCAA rules and regulations had been violated in the football program. The University has informed the NCAA of the results of its investigation and of its action against the coaches who are in their third year at TSU. The NCAA's investigation of alleged violations in TSU's football program is ongoing.