Seattle University has suspended men's basketball head coach Jim Hayford and placed him on administrative leave pending an internal investigation into allegations from a player who said he repeated the N-word on two occasions, per Jeff Goodman of Stadium.
Hayford allegedly used the word during a scrimmage Thursday with the team preparing for its Nov. 10 season opener at home against Alcorn State.
"Sources said that it wasn’t the first time that Hayford had repeated the word after one of his players said it, and that it also occurred once during the summer," Goodman wrote.
"A Black player used the word during Thursday's scrimmage, and it was then called into question by one of the officials. Hayford then repeated the word in an effort to curtail its use."
"Did you say the N-word?" Hayford allegedly asked the player.
Goodman also reported issues between Hayford and the Seattle Redhawks players separate from the allegations.
"Most of the players don’t like him, so this was almost the final straw," a source told Goodman. "He’s very emotional, flammable. It can be a hostile environment."
Hayford reportedly apologized to his team Friday, but the "majority" of the Redhawks are "refusing" to play for him, per Goodman.
Hayford has been a high school and college coach from 1987 to the present date. The 53-year-old led Eastern Washington from 2011 to 2017 before becoming Seattle's head coach. He also led Sioux Falls (1999-2001) and Whitworth (2001-2011).
Hayford leads an eight-person coaching staff. Chris Victor and Alex Pribble are listed as associate head coaches.
Last year's Redhawks went 12-11 overall (4-5 Western Athletic Conference) under Hayford. They return many of their players from last year's squad, including leading scorer and sophomore guard Darrion Trammell (20.5 PPG) and junior wing Riley Grigsby (17.8 PPG).