Former secretary says ex-Baylor coach was ``angry man''
DALLAS -- A former administrative assistant who worked for Dave Bliss for three years said she often felt frightened by the ex-Baylor coach's behavior and his treatment of players. She said her complaints to university officials about the conduct were repeatedly ignored.
Laura Collins-Hays, who resigned from her job out of frustration in March 2002, described Bliss -- a former coach at New Mexico -- as an "angry man" and questioned some of the procedures she observed in the basketball office, The Dallas Morning News reported in editions Tuesday.
Bliss resigned Aug. 8 after an internal investigative committee found evidence of NCAA violations, including allegations that he was involved in illicit payments to players. The investigation began after questions were raised following the disappearance of player Patrick Dennehy, who was later found dead.
Collins-Hays told the newspaper checks for a booster club were funneled through the basketball office and she handled calls from a car leasing agency inquiring about player's cars.
She also recounted an incident in the fall 2001 in which she heard Bliss shouting and cursing at a player in his office behind closed doors. She said she later heard loud thumping noise coming from the office.
She said she later told the player, whom she identified as Greg Davis, that he didn't have to take that type of treatment from the coach.
"He said, "Yes I do if I want to keep my scholarship,"' Collins-Hays said.
Collins-Hays said she reported her concerns to Jaffus Hardrick, the university's assistant vice president and director of personnel services.
"I told him what had gone on," she told the newspaper. "He told me, "I've met Coach Bliss. He doesn't act like that. Go back to work."
She said she met twice more with Hardrick and he refused to forward her concerns or her request to meet directly with athletic director Tom Stanton and she resigned.
A message left by The Associated Press for Hardrick was not immediately returned Monday night.
Collins-Hays told the Waco Tribune-Herald for a story in Tuesday editions that she wanted to report possible violations of NCAA rules, including a January 2002 incident in which a live feed of the Kansas State men's practice session in the Baylor basketball arena showed up on a video monitor inside the athletic offices. Baylor won the game later that night, 73-70.
In another incident, Collins-Hays told the Morning News, she was scared when she saw Bliss throw a telephone across his office.
"I was afraid of him," said the Baylor graduate who now works with her husband running two Waco bookstores.
Messages left for Bliss by the AP were not immediately returned.
Collin-Hayes said it was her job to collect checks from members of the Sixth Man Club, an elite level of the FastBreak Club, which is part of the Baylor Bear Foundation, a booster club for Baylor athletics. She said it was Bliss' idea to start the club.
She said members of the Sixth Man Club would bring her personal checks for $1,500 written to the club. She said she thought it was unusual when Bliss would give her checks that had been given directly to him.
She said she would record the checks in a ledger and send them to Doug Smith, executive director of the Bear Foundation. Former assistant coach Brian O'Neill kept track of the club's finances, she said.
O'Neill, who left Baylor after the 2002-2003 season, declined to comment.
Collins-Hays said she thought Baylor officials might have been violating NCAA rules by leasing cars for players. She said a Waco leasing company called the basketball office and wanted the keys to a player's car.
She said at least two players, Wendell Greenleaf and DeMarcus Minor, had a car from the same company, Sinclair Leasing.
The company leased cars to coaches and to some players, Sinclair Leasing owner David Chiles said. He said he hadn't been contacted by the committee that's investigating possible NCAA violations.
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index