Creighton's Greg McDermott Suspended After Making Racially Insensitive Comment

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIMarch 5, 2021

Creighton head coach Greg McDermott during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Seton Hall Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Newark, N.J. Creighton won 85-81. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Creighton men's basketball coach Greg McDermott has been suspended from all team activities in the wake of racially insensitive comments made following a loss in late February.

Coach McDermott @cucoachmac

I made a mistake and I own it. Mistakes come with consequences, and I accept and agree with the suspension. https://t.co/pYOT0X0nMx

In a statement from the university, athletic director Bruce Rasmussen explained the decision stemmed from conversations with senior leaders and further sanctions "remain under consideration", though those decisions may not be made public. 

McDermott apologized earlier this week and acknowledged the image of slavery his phrasing evoked. 

Coach McDermott @cucoachmac

I’m sorry. https://t.co/tE6thM1aRc

"Guys, we got to stick together," McDermott told his players, per the Omaha World-Herald's Jon Nyatawa. "We need both feet in. I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can't have anybody leave the plantation."

Earlier Thursday, the coach told 1620 The Zone's Unsportsmanlike Conduct he offered to resign his position.

Assistant coach Al Huss will serve as the Bluejays' interim head coach until further notice. 

Another of McDermott's assistants, Terrence Rencher, released a statement March 2 explaining the hurt he felt by the coach's phrasing while reaffirming his commitment to support the players on the roster. Those players decided to keep McDermott for the remainder of the season. 

Terrence Rencher @TeeRench

Our players are going through a tough time. They are my priority. #Coaches4Action https://t.co/0UZ2vEWizY

While McDermott still has a job, he won't be finishing the rest of the Big East schedule with his team. 

The No. 14 Bluejays host Butler in their regular-season finale Saturday at CenturyLink Center and are just half a game back of No. 10 Villanova for the division title. 

It's unclear if McDermott will be allowed to coach during the Big East Tournament or NCAA tournament with Creighton expected to play a major role in both.

McDermott, 56, has led the Bluejays since 2010 after four years at Iowa State. He's overseen the program's transition from Missouri Valley Conference member to the Big East, having made the NCAA tournament in all but four years at Creighton. 

Rasmussen called for both the athletics department and the coach to grow from the incident writing "clearly more work needs to be done."