Indiana AD reprimands assistant football coach for slap

Updated: October 17, 2003, 1:59 PM ET

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana - Indiana assistant football coach Joe Cullen slapped a player and the university has slapped back.

Indiana athletic director Terry Clapacs on Friday issued a letter of reprimand and directed Cullen - the defensive line coach - "to take steps to modify his behavior" after hitting a player during the team's 31-3 loss to Michigan State on October 4.

During a stoppage of play, Cullen got into the face of linebacker Herana-Daze Jones and slapped him on the side of his helmet.

"It was a pretty hard slap," Jones told the Indianapolis Star. "I really don't know what to say about it."

Cullen told the newspaper he was trying to wake up the defense.

"I was just trying to get him a little fired up down in the red zone," Cullen said.

After interviewing Cullen, Jones and coach Gerry DiNardo, Clapacs came to believe there was no malicious intent, but urged his coaches to tone down their act or disciplinary measure will be taken.

"Game motivation is important, but the behavior that occurred at that moment is not appropriate for our coaches, and that's why I have issued findings," Clapacs said. "I know that coach Cullen feels badly about the incident. He's apologized to the student-athlete and we'll move forward with our season."

The Hoosers are 1-6, having lost four straight games, and take on defending national champion Ohio State on October 25.

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