Syracuse fires Fine amid investigation

Syracuse University fired men's basketball associate coach Bernie Fine Sunday after a third man stepped forward, accusing the longtime coach of molesting him when he was younger and ESPN released a taped conversation between Fine's wife and accuser Bobby Davis.

Bernie Fine, Syracuse University men’s basketball associate head coach, was fired by the university Sunday after sexual assault allegations toward Bobby Davis, a former ball boy for the men’s basketball team, surfaced last week.

Photo: Andrew Renneisen
A sign supporting Fine sits outside his house Sunday night.

Fine’s dismissal is effective immediately and came after ESPN's Outside the Lines released a taped conversation between Davis and Fine’s wife, Laurie, Sunday morning. Fine’s dismissal also comes after a third man, Zach Tomasseli, a 23-year-old from Maine, accused Fine of sexually molesting him when he was a child. 

The taped conversation revealed Laurie had knowledge of the ongoing abuse toward Davis by her husband.

University Chancellor Nancy Cantor said in an email sent to the SU community that the university has been fully cooperating with Syracuse City Police during its investigation. Cantor added the taped conversation was not provided to SU when it conducted its own internal investigation regarding sexual assault allegations against Fine in 2005.

“Frankly, the events of the past week have shaken us all,” Cantor said in the statement. "The taped phone call that ESPN revealed today was not provided to the university by Mr. Davis during the 2005 investigation by our legal counsel.

“Like the media review of the case a few years earlier, no other witnesses came forward during the university investigation, and those who felt they knew Bernie best could not imagine what has unfolded.”

Cantor also said in the email that everyone in the university has the responsibility to keep SU safe for everyone.

Head coach Jim Boeheim has yet to address the media regarding Fine’s firing, but did say in a statement he was shocked because he had never witnessed any acts of sexual abuse during his tenure. 

"I believe the university took the appropriate step tonight,” Boeheim said in the statement issued Sunday. “What is most important is that this matter be fully investigated and that anyone with information be supported to come forward so that the truth can be found. “I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse."


Fine was fired during his 36th season as a coach at his alma mater. He was actively the longest tenured assistant coach in Division-I men’s basketball and has coached the likes of SU greats Derrick Coleman, Carmelo Anthony, Gerry McNamara and Andy Rautins, among many others.


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