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Attorney: Coach accused of pushing player resigns

By the CNN Wire Staff

  • The basketball coach accused of shoving player resigns from Holy Family University
  • Player Matthew Kravchuk's attorney says coach pushed his client to the ground during drill
  • Prosecutors said they would not charge coach John O'Connor in the January 25 incident

(CNN) -- The college basketball coach suspended after video surfaced that appears to show him pushing a player down during practice has resigned, his attorney said Friday.

Prosecutors in Philadelphia said Thursday that they would not file charges against John O'Connor. But his attorney, John J. Gallagher, said he believed Holy Family University officials were nevertheless pressuring his client to resign.

"We realized the school was in a position with the amount of publicity generated from the story that it would be better for the coach to remove himself and let everyone move on," Gallagher said.

Holy University released a statement confirming O'Connor's decision to resign. Spokesman Thomas Durso said the school would have no further comment.

Matthew Kravchuk, 19, said in a police report that he suffered a bloody nose and scratches to his lip and forehead after O'Connor pushed him down during a January 25 practice. He complained in a separate doctor's visit of wrist pain and later filed a criminal complaint seeking charges against O'Connor.

Video of the practice that first aired on a Philadelphia TV station appears to show O'Connor shoving a player identified as Kravchuk. The player fell, and O'Connor yelled, "Good, you got some blood on you," according to Kravchuk's attorney, Jack Cohen.

The coach also appears to push at or kick Kravchuk with his foot.

Kravchuk answered, "It's from you," Cohen said. The coach, he said, used profanity and told Kravchuk to leave.

O'Connor later apologized to Kravchuk and the team.

Cohen said the contact was intentional and told CNN affiliate KYW-TV in Philadelphia that Kravchuk didn't want to play any more for O'Connor.

But other team members said the contact was accidental, and that O'Connor apologized and took responsibility for what happened.

"As a team we understood that (the) coach's actions were strictly out of his love and persistence to make us a better basketball team. At the end of the meeting our team was all smiles and once again unified," the athletes said in a statement.

On Thursday, prosecutors said they had reviewed Kravchuk's complaint and concluded that it did not "constitute a prosecutable criminal offense."

But that is likely not the end of the case, Gallagher said Friday. He said he expects Kravchuk to file a civil lawsuit.

"Well, he wears that brace everywhere he goes," Gallagher said. "I would assume the next shoe to fall would be a civil litigation, which we'll be happy to handle."

CNN's Stephanie Gallman contributed to this report.