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Investigation into former Hinsdale Central star Brian Wardle's treatment of players expected to last weeks

Complaints levied against University of Wisconsin-Green Bay men's basketball coach

Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013 4:00 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, April 18, 2013 7:14 p.m. CDT
(Photo courtesy of UW-Green Bay)
Brian Wardle led Hinsdale Central to two state-tournament appearances in the 1990s before becoming the youngest Division I men's basketball head coach in 2010.

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Attorney Joseph Nicks has been hired by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to investigate complaints of player mistreatment by men’s basketball coach Brian Wardle.

Wardle, a former basketball star at Hinsdale Central High School, remains on staff as head coach while Nicks continues his investigation.

When asked if Nicks’ investigation would continue over several months, University Communications Director Chris Sampson said he believed the inquiry would end sooner than that.

“There are a lot of people involved and a lot of people to interview, but it might be more like a matter of weeks. A couple weeks to a month,” Sampson said Wednesday. “We want to wrap it up as soon as possible, but at the same time we want to do a thorough job.”

The university received a complaint from the parents of a player via email April 11. A complaint from the parents of a second player was sent via email to UWGB Chancellor Thomas Harden on Monday, at which time Nicks was hired and started his investigation, according to Sampson.

According to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report last week, Wardle released the following statement: “I will be supportive of this process and I’m confident in the findings. I will have no further comment until it is concluded.”

The Green Bay Press Gazette cited sources that said the initial complaint included verbal and emotional mistreatment by Wardle, but not physical. The second complaint, by Gina Cougill, alleged harsh treatment of her son, Brennan Cougill.

News of accusations against Wardle came a week after Rutgers University fired men’s basketball coach Mike Rice when video surfaced of him verbally and physically abusing players.

Wardle led Hinsdale Central to back-to-back state tournament appearances before graduating in 1997 and embarking on a four-year playing career at Marquette University. He was an assistant coach at Marquette from 2003-05 and an assistant at UWGB from 2005-10 before being named head coach at Green Bay. Wardle was the youngest men’s basketball coach in Division I at age 30 when he was hired in 2010.

Wardle, 33, has compiled a 47-49 record in three seasons as head coach at UWGB and is coming off an 18-16 campaign.

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