WVU athletics

West Virginia women’s basketball assistant Lester Rowe

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby reprimanded West Virginia women’s basketball assistant Lester Rowe for his role Sunday in an altercation following the Mountaineers’ 59-56 victory at Hawaii.

WVU athletics director Oliver Luck supported Bowslby’s reprimand and said any disciplinary measures against Rowe “will be handled internally.”

After West Virginia’s victory clinched the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu, a fan came to the WVU bench and the ensuing fracas saw Hawaii athletics director Ben Jay struck in the back. Jay subsequently went to the emergency room where a CT scan revealed “transverse process fractures” in his lumbar region and bleeding around one of his kidneys, according to a University of Hawaii news release.

Jay has been released from the hospital and is resting at home.

“It was an unfortunate situation that occurred on Sunday prior to the trophy ceremony at the conclusion of the tournament at the University of Hawaii,” Luck said. “The incident has been reviewed by the appropriate individuals and I consider the matter closed.”

Thursday’s reprimand from the Big 12 Conference:

 The Big 12 Conference announced a public reprimand of West Virginia University assistant women’s basketball coach Lester Rowe for his post-game conduct during Sunday’s contest at the University of Hawai`i-Manoa.  His actions were in violation of the Big 12 Conference’s Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct rules.

“Coach Rowe violated Conference rules that prohibit coaches, student-athletes, athletic department staff and university personnel from committing abusive acts toward an opponent’s fans,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby.  “Coaches have the responsibility to refrain from behavior that incites negative fan conduct.  Coach Rowe is also put on notice that future incidents may result in a more serious penalty.”

Rowe was a two-time WVU team captain who helped the Mountaineers to a pair of Atlantic 10 titles in 1983 and 1984. He served as an assistant on the men’s staff of Gale Catlett from 1997-2002 and was hired by women’s coach Mike Carey in 2011.

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  • Tom

    From what I understand, Lester did the right thing to protect his players. Luck should respond quickly with a retort.

    • WasThere

      It was Carey who created the overly contentious atmosphere. His constant whining to the officials finally drew a technical. After the game, he continued to complain to his coaching staff in front of the WVU and UH fans.

      Some of his players were behaving the same way. Carey really sets the tone for his assistants and players.

      People were telling him to "shut-up" and "sit down already."

    • Peter

      How is Rowe protecting the players when he is calling down the heckler. Sure the heckler may be saying horrible things, but you as a coach should be above that and ignore it.

      • William

        Why wasn't this reported in the original story?
        Lester Rowe was wrong, at no time should a coach challenged a fan to
        Why do REPORTERS not report the whole story and try to cover up for CERTAIN PEOPLE?
        No place in the first story was this reported, WHY?
        Maybe the reporter should be suspended!

      • Shadow

        You are one dumb m... s...s.. q.and what ever one can be called. Just ignore it but remember what I called you.

        • Peter

          You stay classy Shadow

          • Shadow

            You don't like being heckled either. None of us do but Rowe stopped it.

  • FungoJoe

    There is no way Oliver Luck should accept the Big 12 decision. He should stand up for his coach and stand up to the Big 12. Lester Rowe did the right thing. What if this nut had a knife going after his girls? In today's nutty world he cannot take that chance. Defend the women. And put a potential threat on his ass. Job well done.

    • Poca J

      There should have been some type of security to take care of that before it ever went that far. No fan should be able to get even close to an opposing coach or player. Rowe's response was understandable but probably a reprimandable offense.

      • wv4evah

        Poca: excellent

    • GregG

      Luck isn't going to go against his "cash flow".

    • Shadow

      Agree. Who hit the Hawaii AD in the back? Had he got rid of the heckler earlier, he wouldn't be sitting at home. Sometimes, "Enough is Enough" and I only hope the heckler was sitting on his butt.

  • Mister Man

    Fans do those things. WVU's own also do such things. Rowe should not have called him out. I am ashamed. I apologize to my friends and family in Hawaii.

    • Shadow

      I'm proud of the Coach. He did what no one else in that building did or wanted to do. A man of action, my kind of guy.

      • Mister Man

        He did what no one else in that building did or wanted to do. That is correct. No one else would be that idiotic. It doesn't surprise me that he's your kind of guy.

        • Shadow

          What that heckler needed was one good ol' WV aswhuppin' to shut his mouth. If you think any of the people near him were happy, you don't go to many ball games. Supporting Rudeness is not only idiotic, it is stupid, and that is where you stand.

  • Resilient Skies

    Lester Rowe from Buffalo.
    Book him, Dan-O.

    • The Sarge

      Classic funny

  • wvu1983

    Thank you coach for protecting your players.

    • William

      Thank the reporter for PROTECTING the coach.
      It's the GOOD-OLD BOYS system at work here

    • Peter

      He put the players in harms way by calling down the heckler.

    • Vince Cho

      How were his players in harm's way? Coach needed to exercise some self control. Heck, WVU won the game, right? Just walk away...

  • Indian Boy

    The heckler was shouting insults at the team the entire game. He should have been removed from the event and this situation could have been avoided. I will not blame a Coach for protecting his team. Was it a bad decision to wave the man to the floor, yes, but sometimes people reach their limit.

    • Rookie

      WV fans was also yapping away, the coach wanted to act all big chest and call the fan to challenge him. HI fan took up his offer but was mob by the WV fans, coach should have shut his mouth. Heard this big man also was the one who hit the little Chinese AD, lets see if there will be any charges brought up.

      • wv4evah

        racist: "little chinese"

        • Rookie

          Racist lmao WV coach is 6'4" HI AD is a old man probably weights a buck 40 do you get the picture now.

  • Not Me

    While still in school I worked as a cashier at a K-Mart and a customer kept chiding me for something that rang up wrong on the register,, after a few moments of suffering his belittlement I pointed towards the door and said come on, outside and took off for the door and waited for him to come out--- Needless to say, I was fired!! And this coach needs fired, too..

    • Graywv

      Maybe you have forgotten, but Lester Rowe was great player for WVU and a Captain of the team-sure he made a mistake, but it was by-no-means a serious mis-step, probably it would never have come to light if not for AD Injury. Lester has always been a LOYAL Mountaineer and loves this state! Remember as a former player he is very competitive an especially for the Mountaineers!

      • William

        I like Lester Rowe, but he made a big mistake. He should be suspended.
        But the other mistake here is the reporter, for not reporting the WHOLE story.
        He should be suspended too!
        Stop protecting certain people if your going to be a reporter and report the FACTS, and true story(everything)!

  • Barry

    Amen wvman75

  • tw eagle

    why hasn't this individual been fired ? give him another chance , he don't know no better . . . that excuse doesn't fly anymore . . .his thuggish response to a challenge belongs on a street corner in the
    'hood' , not in a venue as a representative
    of the state of West Virginia and WVU . . .

    • Logic

      Your comment reeks of racism

      • wv4evah

        brian: correct

        • tw eagle

          with the XII and bowlsby involved means that a sizable monetary settlement has been accomplished . . .i'll keep an eye on the WVU financial release for this year to see how they try to hide it . . .
          with the XII involved as the payer (bagman) it must be in the millions . . .

      • tw eagle

        and your comment says that your moniker is what you are seeking , but haven't a clue what it is or how to attain
        it . . .pointing out facts and flaws in
        peoples make up isn't pretty , and should
        be avoided . . .but this wasn't a dust up
        in a bar , or at a club . . .this was a major
        faux pas committed as a member of a
        WVU traveling entourage . . .an 18/20
        year old could have an occurrence overlooked as a youthful indiscretion to learn from . . .this is a grown man who has graduated from WVU and should have more sense . . .the learning experience here should be a hard lesson,
        to make an example for others . . .

      • Not Me


      • Brian

        I concur.

  • wvu999

    I think Coach Rowe is a good man from the brief dealings I have had with him. Sorry Lester Rowe from Buffalo!!!

  • wvman75

    Our coach stood up for his team and this university. Tuck it in his file and let's move on.

    • Bondo

      They should be glad that Mike Carey didn't start swinging some left hands or there would have been alot more hind-ends hit the dirt.

  • richard

    lester rowe is not like that. something must have been said or done to get him to that point. he is a benefit to the school and nothing but that.just unfortunate.

  • Angela

    Lester Rowe seems like a very calm person normally. That fan must have really said something horrible to get Lester upset. I think there's a lot of the story that hasn't some out yet. True, he should have ignored the fan and not provoked him, but if that person insulted one of our women, I'm willing to overlook this one infraction. It seems out of character for him.

  • leroy jethro gibbs

    wow that other coach got hurt pretty bad, i see lawyers involved now

    • vashti

      he is their athletic director not acoach

      • JimJim

        Is he the one who is in charge of crowd control??


    We can never seem to stay out of the limelight when it comes to bad news and fighting. If it's not a fist fight in the stands between two WVU drunks arguing at the Texas football game; it's one our basketball coaches waving to some screaming dead-beat heckler in the stands to come on down. The Honolulu paper reported that a WVU black coach waved at the heckler to come on down on the floor at the end of the game. Coach Rowe should have ignored the idiot. That's what these hecklers want is attention.

    • Rock Solid

      Way to go WVa. Let's tip cars, fight at basketball games, that is the national news we need to get in the ACC. Oh that's right. They don't want a bunch of thugs in their conference. Gee let us not forget the trash can thrown from an upper level onto an assistant coach from Miami way back win by a drunk. Seems all we can do is drink and fight. If this fan at our Basketball fan was being racially or threatening to our girls he needed to be kicked to the curb, but our CLASS should have prevented WVU coaches from lowering themselves to this heckler's level. Most times the high road is not the easy road. It is obvious we should have waited for the trouphy and then refused to accept it because of the way the tournament was allowed to become ugly with no police to protect our team from a hateful fan who obviously needed to have someone stop his CLASSLESS behavior. YET NOT OUR COACH REPRESENTING OUR STATE! We have to stay above this kind of behavior or even the All American Conference wouldn't want us, or Marcia wouldn't want to play us in sports and if the Thundering _urd won't play you, you really have hit bottom! Right William and Larry?

      • scott

        ACC dont care about thugs....they gladly accepted Miami....its how much money...tv viewing eyeballs and deans list students the school has {which gets them more money}....if only college athletics cared about thugs.

      • Greg

        ?????? The rumblings of a madman? And what kind of a nut would want their school in the ACC when it can be in one of the big boy conferences?

        On another note, if ol' Leaping Lester has another year of eligibility left we could sure use him on the FB team!