Friend: Coaches gave Dennehy blank money orders

Updated: August 7, 2003, 11:24 PM ET

DALLAS -- A friend of slain Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy said he had told her that coaches gave him blank money orders to help with expenses, including a down payment on his sport utility vehicle, according to a published report.

Lacie Richardson of Albuquerque, N.M., told The Dallas Morning News for a story in Friday's editions that Dennehy told her after he went to Waco that assistant coach Rodney Belcher helped him. "If he needed help with his car, if he needed help with his apartment, Belcher would help with what he needed," Richardson said.

Baylor athletic spokesman Scott Stricklin said such a statement would be hard to substantiate.

Dennehy's father, Patrick Dennehy Sr., has previously told the newspaper that a Baylor coach assured his son the school would help him pay tuition and living expenses after the player gave up his scholarship for a year at the request of the basketball staff. He later confirmed he was referring to Belcher. Belcher recruited Dennehy from New Mexico.

The university has named a committee to looking into accusations of NCAA violations.

In October, Dennehy bought a 1996 Chevy Tahoe from a dealership in West, Texas. The sales contract lists a $2,000 cash down payment.

"He said, `I'm getting blank money orders from the school to help me assist in the down payment," Richardson said. The car dealer has said Dennehy told him he got the down payment from a girlfriend.

Richardson attended Dennehy's memorial service Thursday in San Jose, Calif. Dennehy's decomposing body was found July 25 in a grassy field four miles from the Baylor campus in Waco. He died from gunshot wounds to the head, according to a preliminary autopsy report.

Dennehy's former teammate and roommate Carlton Dotson was arrested July 21 after calling 911, saying he needed help because he was hearing voices, authorities said.

Dotson told FBI agents in Maryland that he shot Dennehy after the player tried to shoot him, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. But after his arrest, Dotson told The Associated Press that he "didn't confess to anything."

Richardson said she met Dennehy two years ago when they worked at a Just For Feet athletic shoe store in her hometown.

Dennehy played for New Mexico and the two kept in touch after Dennehy transferred to Baylor last summer.

Richardson said she last talked to Dennehy on May 28, while he was visiting Albuquerque, and that he talked happily about his plans for the upcoming season.

But she said she was uneasy around Dotson while riding alone with him to a convenience store. Dotson suspected Dennehy had been intimate with his now-estranged wife, Melissa Kethley, Richardson said.

Kethley, of Sulphur Springs, has said she left Dotson in April because of his repeated allegations that she was having affairs. Kethley has denied those accusations.

According to Richardson, Dotson said he had heard that Dennehy was spending more time with Kethley than he should.

"I asked him, `Well, why are you still friends?' " Richardson said. "He said, `Basically, I'm along for the ride with him. I don't consider him to be a very good friend to anybody.' That kind of bothered me. Why would he come all that way to Albuquerque if they weren't friends?"

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index