The state of New Mexico announced Tuesday that it had fired men’s basketball coach Greg Heiar after the school canceled the season due to hazing allegations involving the players.
Chancellor Dan E. Arvizu made the announcement Tuesday night after athletic director Mario Moccia briefed Heiar on the school’s decision.
«As I previously stated, hazing has no place on our campus, and those responsible will be held accountable for their actions,» Arvizu wrote, via ESPN. «I am committed to the safety and well-being of all members of our campus community, as well as the integrity of our university.
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«We will also make sure support systems are in place to prevent this from happening again.»
Arvizu explained why the university decided to suspend its program and place Heiar and his staff on administrative leave last weekend. The Aggies had been preparing to face the California Baptists on Saturday when the decision was broadcast and they returned to campus in Las Cruces.
NEW MEXICO STATE MEN’S BASKETBALL PROGRAM SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY AFTER REPORTS OF HAZING: CHANCELLOR
The chancellor said the most important part of his job is to ensure that students in the school system are safe and secure from harm, adding that he is «heartbroken and disgusted» to hear reports of hazing.
Arvizu also said that the team was «interviewed by university personnel who are specially trained to conduct investigations on these types of matters.»
The suspension comes at a troubling time in the Aggies program after a Nov. 19 shooting on the Albuquerque campus of rival University of New Mexico that left 21-year-old Aggies forward MIke Peake injured and student 19 year old UNM Brandon Travis dead. .
The university noted that the hazing allegations had nothing to do with Peake’s injury or Travis’ death.
Police reported that Travis and three other UNM students, including a 17-year-old girl, lured Peake to campus hours before their rivalry game.
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Surveillance footage released by the New Mexico State Police in December showed three people approaching the basketball player from behind before hitting him in the legs with a baseball bat and shooting him in the left leg. Peake can then be seen pulling out a gun and firing several shots, which hit Travis and resulted in his death.
Three of Peake’s teammates, later identified as Issa Muhammad, Marchelus Avery and Anthony Roy, picked him up and took him to a hospital.
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Heiar was in his first season as the Aggies’ head coach, and although they were the reigning Western Athletic Conference champions, they were struggling with a 9-15 record, which included 10 losses in their last 12 games.
Fox News’ Elizabeth Pritchett contributed to this report.