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Brian Wardle works with UWGB squad during investigation into his treatment of players

Former Hinsdale Central standout still coaching as investigation unfolds

Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 12:36 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:59 p.m. CDT
Caption
(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.

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Right now, it's business as usual for former Hinsdale Central High School star Brian Wardle.

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay men's basketball coach is working with his players in preparation for next season, even in the midst of an ongoing investigation being conducted by Green Bay attorney Joseph Nicks into allegations by two former players of mistreatment by Wardle.

"He's working with his players on a regular basis," UWGB Communications Director Chris Sampson said Wednesday. "I don't know if it's every single day, but it's at least regular workouts and work in the weight room."

Nicks' investigation started April 15 in response to a complaint of mistreatment made by the parents of former walk-on player Ryan Bross April 11. Another complaint from the mother of Phoenix player Brennan Cougill came to light April 15. There is no concrete time table for Nicks to complete his investigation, but it is well underway.

"He has interviewed players, and he has yet to interview other people that might have more info to provide," Sampson said. He said the latter group could include coaches and other staff members, but he could not say for sure. It is unknown if Nicks has interviewed Wardle.

Wardle, University Chancellor Thomas Harden and athletic director Ken Bothof all attended Tuesday's Phoenix-Packers Steak Fry, a UWGB athletic department fundraiser. All addressed the crowd, though Wardle refrained from discussing the investigation and did not take questions from reporters in attendance, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. It was his first public speaking engagement since the complaints surfaced.

"Coach Wardle got up and talked about last season and what the team is doing in the offseason and where they are at right now," Sampson said. "The minute it came out we were opening an investigation, he released a statement that he was going to trust and respect the process and not say anything about it. He got up Tuesday night in front of 500 people with the tapes rolling and four local TV stations there and spoke, but as far as I know he didn't take any questions about the investigation."

Bothof also avoided talking about the investigation, and, according to the Press-Gazette, Harden defended his handling of the complaints and investigation.

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