McMaster football coach Greg Knox has been fired.
The 48-year-old learned of the decision late Monday afternoon after being summoned to a meeting with the university’s human resources department.
The axing follows an investigation by the school into an incident with an official in a game exactly one month before the day of his release. Details of that interaction have not been released or explained.
“An independent third-party report into an incident involving McMaster’s head football coach Greg Knox has now been received by the university,” says an official school release on the McMaster Daily News website. “After careful consideration, the university has determined it will be proceeding with a leadership change of the football program. Knox is no longer employed by the university and not part of the coaching staff.”
Knox declined to comment.
Interim athletic director Mark Alfano and Dean of Students Sean Van Koughnett spoke to the other coaches and players immediately after the dismissal.
Knox was in his third year as head coach after being brought back to the school as interim head coach when Stef Ptaszek left to join the Hamilton Tiger-Cats shortly before the 2016 season. He’d been the defensive co-ordinator in each of the three seasons (2011, ’12 and ’14) the Marauders made it to the Vanier Cup and had most-recently been working as defensive backs coach of the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Since taking over the top job, he’s led Mac to a 15-6 record.
However, he was suspended for an alleged incident involving an official in a game last month. Ontario University Athletics held a hearing, listened to his official appeal and gave him a one-game suspension. McMaster, meanwhile, put him on administrative leave where he remained until Monday, missing three games.
“The independent investigation was begun after an incident at a game against Wilfrid Laurier University in late September, which involved allegations of harassment and threats of physical violence made against a sideline game official,” the school’s official release says.
The reason for the vast difference in penalties between the league and the school is unclear as nobody from either organization will offer specific details of what the incident involved. The school’s release says it will be offering no details as it must follow privacy guidelines.
Players on the squad have publicly supported their coach, wearing #FREEGK shirts under their jerseys in pregame warmups the last few weeks until they were told to remove them.
The Marauders open their playoffs on Saturday at Carleton in Ottawa.
According to the Ontario Sunshine List, Knox made $113,456 last year as head coach.