Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen announced Thursday night that Bluejays basketball coach Greg McDermott has been suspended at least through Sunday’s regular season finale against Butler as the fallout from McDermott’s use of racially insensitive language continues.
“After our Creighton men’s basketball team returned to Omaha earlier today, [Father] Hendrickson and I engaged with other senior leaders in dialogue and discussion regarding appropriate sanctions for the remarks made by head men’s basketball coach Greg McDermott that were not in alignment with Creighton’s commitment to racial equity, diversity and respect,” Rasmussen said in a statement. “Coach McDermott and the team have accepted that, effective immediately, he is suspended from all team activities, including Saturday’s home season finale against Butler. Further sanctions remain under consideration, not all of which will be shared publicly. Assistant coach Al Huss will serve as interim head coach.
“Coach McDermott and our athletics program must use this incident as an opportunity for growth and learning, as clearly more work needs to be done.”
McDermott said earlier this week that he would have resigned if his players wanted after he admitted to “an egregious mistake” made in the locker room after a loss last weekend.
“If they would have chosen to have me walk away, I would have walked away,” McDermott said in an interview with 1620 The Zone, according to the Omaha World-Herald. “But that is not what they wanted.”
McDermott initially apologized Tuesday evening for comments made Saturday following a 77-69 road loss to Xavier. In the apology, posted to Twitter, McDermott included the analogy in full, which reads as follows:
“Guys, we got to stick together. We need both feet in. I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can’t have anybody leave the plantation.”
“I have never used that analogy and it is not indicative of who I am as a person or as a coach,” McDermott said. “I am deeply sorry. I have apologized to our student-athletes and to our staff, as well as to President Hendrickson and Director of Athletics Bruce Rasmussen.”
Creighton issued a separate statement Tuesday evening on the subject, condemning the language as “deplorable.” It added that any disciplinary action taken against McDermott will remain confidential.
“While an apology is a start, and while we believe this was out of character for Coach McDermott, in no way does it diminish the fact that his remark was hurtful to many and has absolutely no place in the Creighton community,” Creighton’s statement said. “We have offered our full and unconditional support to those affected by his words.”
Creighton assistant coach Terrence Rencher, who is also a member of Coaches For Action, also issued a statement on the subject. Rencher has served on McDermott’s staff since 2019.
McDermott has been Creighton’s coach since 2010. He has taken the team to five NCAA Tournaments and is on pace to make it a sixth this season, with the Bluejays (17-7) a projected No. 6 seed in Jerry Palm’s latest bracket.