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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  • Gary

    Lester has become such a big headed DB with a huge ego!

  • Chef Camille

    Carey has been like this since his WVIAC days. He was always agitating and had a chip on his shoulders. Hopefully the aggrieved party doesn't file suit.

  • Lee

    i suggest that anyone shouting obscenities be removed. It has gotten so bad that you cannot take a child to a game and if you have any backbone and values you eventually become angry.

    I've listened to a few idiots that I would like to have busted!

  • Tom

    On Sportsline a few nights ago they reported there was absolutely no security or law enforcement in the arena. If there had been, hopefully the loud-mouthed drunken heckler would have been removed long before any of this happened.

    • Shadow

      They don't have 911?

  • editerguy

    I'm a lifelong WVU fan--freshman in 1970, two-time graduate, retiring from the school in four years, etc. The only times in my life I ever rooted against the Mountaineers were several basketball games in which Lester Rowe made me ashamed of my gold and blue with his taunting, cursing, and whining on the floor. He was especially prone to this during the many times in which he was clearly the best player in the game, and couldn't refrain from rubbing his opponents' noses in his superiority. I was sorry to see him return to the Coliseum, and I am sorry for the players and fans who will have to endure his childish antics until he inevitably disgraces himself and is fired.

    • Gary


  • George

    Does any one remember that during Coach Rowe's playing days at WVU his nickname was "Lester the Molester"?

    • Gary

      I do..... also Lester Rowe from Buffalo!

  • OldSkool

    Would Hugg's not have called out the heckler?He's done it before and not a word from anybody. I have no problem with the coach addressing bad fan behavior, so long as the coach isn't antagonizing the fans.

    • Joe

      OlcdSkool, I think you are on to something. Remember when Huggs picked up the microphone at the scorers table in Charleston and had the unruly WVU fan thrown out of the building by security during the, I believe, Oklahoma game a few years back?

      I don't suppose that person's name is Larry, Tom or William!

  • Big Larry

    Fire Bob "Sweatsuit" Huggins and elevate Lester Rowe to the position of Men's head Basketball coach.

    He could do no worse than Huggins and may even do better...

    I would be all for it....

    • derek

      Plain and simple you have no clue Huggs is getting it done.

      • Gary

        If you call not making the tourney 2 straight years getting it done. I am including this year. He is living on his legacy and not putting in enough effort to be a NCAA tourney team.

  • 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)!