Coach accused of hitting player, drinking heavily

Updated: February 20, 2004, 9:30 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego State football coach Tom Craft struck a player during a team meeting and was drinking heavily before road games, one current and several former players alleged.

Craft is accused of hitting offensive tackle Mike Kracalik in 2002, leaving a mark on his face, according to affidavits filed by Kracalik and four former players. Craft allegedly was upset about players being drawn into fights.

Former player Jonathan Ingram, who spent last season with the Kansas City Chiefs, and offensive lineman Anthony Foli also claimed Craft appeared to have been drinking heavily the night before two 2002 road games.

Craft and a university spokesman both declined comment.

The affidavits are part of a lawsuit brought by Dave Ohton, the team's former strength and conditioning coach. Ohton was removed from his duties with the football team in August. He claims the move was retaliation for a memo critical of Craft he wrote for California State University auditors investigating the athletic department.

Details from the affidavits appeared Friday in The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Booster Don Sutton said in his affidavit he was with the team during another trip to New Mexico in 2002.

"Coach Craft was stumbling and I easily recognized that he was very drunk ... " Sutton's affidavit states. "I saw Coach Craft using the wall to hold himself up."

Other affidavits claim some players showed up drunk at practice and drank heavily on plane trips at a team banquet in December.

California State University released an audit last spring that cites an overall lack of institutional control. The investigation found alcohol in the equipment room and a Polaroid photo of the school's equipment manager and two student assistants with a topless dancer.

The auditor's findings led to the resignation of athletic director Rick Bay.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press