DA now looking into Holy Family basketball incident

February 24, 2011 6:14:02 AM PST
The Philadelphia District Attorney's office today tells Action News that they are now investigating the physical altercation between the Holy Family University mens basketball coach and one of his players.

The DA's office tells Action News that they have received the private criminal complaint from the alleged victim, Matt Kravchuk and his attorney.

Tasha Jameson, a spokeswoman for Philadelphia's District Attorney Seth Williams, tells Action News that it will take at least two weeks to decide on charges ranging from simple to aggravated assault.

It seemed to be a physical routine rebounding drill at the college level, but not for Holy Family sophomore Matt Kravchuk.

Video obtained by Action News of the incident shows his coach John O'Connor interrupting the drill and knocking Kravchuck to the ground, but it didn't end there.

As the small forward wiped blood from his face and returned back in line, he says O'Connor then began a verbal assault.

O'Connor can be heard on the video saying, "Gotta little (expletive) blood on you...good! Hey, get the (expletive) out of here. Get the (expletive) out of here!"

"Next thing I know I was on the floor, I landed on my wrist and I was bleeding from the mouth," Kravchuk said.

He has now filed a criminal complaint after he says his family got nowhere with the University to have the coach reprimanded.

They say only once the video was leaked to the media did they suspend O'Connor pending the outcome of the investigation. The school declined a request for an on-camera interview.

"I don't know if somebody like that should really be coaching college basketball," Kravchuk's attorney Jack Cohen said.

"He apologized for crossing the line. He knew he crossed the line," Kravchuk said.

O'Connor was hired in April 2010 and came from Georgia Tech of the Atlantic Coast Conference, a prominent college program.

The Philadelphia native has not commented on the incident, but his attorney, John Gallagher tells Action News teammates are defending the coach.

He provided an unsigned letter from players to the administration. In it, they described the incident accidental and said, "We cannot express how much he has positively impacted our present lives...John O'Connor is a natural born winner, and has the Holy Family Men's Basketball program ready to do extraordinary things."

"[Should he be fired?] I don't know what the answer to that question is. I think if you look at the videotape, this was an intentional hit," Cohen said.

What happens now is due in large part to the district attorney's office and, in particular, the Private Criminal Complaint Unit, which will determine if this case is approved for prosecution.