Seattle University men’s basketball head coach Jim Hayford has been suspended and is on administrative leave, pending a school investigation following allegations from one of his players that Hayford repeated the “N-word” on two occasions.
The incident occurred during Thursday’s scrimmage. 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.
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 said.
Hayford apologized on Friday to the players, but the majority of the team then refused to play for him, sources told Stadium. Seattle University has begun an internal investigation.
“Most of the players don’t like him, so this was almost the final straw,” one source close to the program told Stadium. “He’s very emotional, flammable. It can be a hostile environment.”
Hayford, 54, has spent the past four seasons as the head coach at Seattle and has a 64-55 overall record. The Redhawks were 12-11 last season and 4-5 in WAC play.
Prior to his arrival at Seattle, Hayford was the head coach at Eastern Washington from 2011-17, where he led the Eagles to the NCAA tourney in 2015. He was also the head coach at Division III Whitworth and Sioux Falls in NAIA.