Jimmy Patsos, the men’s basketball coach at Siena, denied allegations that he verbally abused a team manager that was diagnosed with OCD and withheld per diem allowences to players and other various team members in a press conference Friday.
Patsos, who is represented by lawyer Richard P. Walsh, based in Colonie, where the press conference was held, spoke for about 15 minutes regarding the allegations, mostly on an official statement. He said that the reports, which were first reported by the Times Union on Wednesday night, were “inaccuracies.”
He said of the allegations, “That’s not true. I never taunted, harassed, or abused this young man.” He did say that the manager, who was not named, took part in normal “banter and teasing” as other players and members of the team do.
He said that himself and the manager had almost daily communication, at least through text messaging, but the manager never raised concerns to Patsos about how he was treated. Also, three former and current Siena managers attended Friday’s press conference in support of Patsos.
“I wish I could hug him. I’m not allowed to hug him right now,” Patsos said.
He also added that the manager received the same duties and jobs as the other managers, and did not want to be treated differently.
As for the per diem payments, Patsos said that he has no direct involvement in making sure players have them, and that is the jobs of other staff members.
“I have not been made aware of any specific allegations regarding the per diems,” Patsos said.
Siena has been conducting an official investigation and released the following statement Thursday. “Siena College is conducting an investigation related to its men’s basketball program and has retained an independent law firm to assist college officials in the inquiry. The investigation was initiated when the college received an allegation of discriminatory conduct. The scope of our investigation has since broadened. Siena is committed to conducting a fair, thorough and impartial investigation and must do so in confidence to protect the rights of all involved and preserve the integrity of the inquiry. An update will be issued to the college community and the public at the conclusion of the investigation.”
Patsos stated that he has cooperated with the investigation since it has started, but is not able to speak to his players about it. Additionally, he and Walsh have not been allowed to speak with the manager who filed the complaint or any witnesses, according to Walsh.
As of Friday, no formal charges have been brought against Patsos, but he and his team plan to fight them if it does come up.
Patsos also said Friday that he does still want to continue to be the head coach at Siena into next season and into years following. Walsh agreed with that.
“We are ready to start basketball. That’s what hopefully will happen next,” Walsh said.
Siena is coming off an 8-24 campaign in Patsos’ fifth season with the program. He owns a record of 77-92 in Loudonville, and is under contract through the 2020-21 season.