New Mexico State announced Tuesday it had fired men’s basketball coach Greg Heiar after the school canceled the season due to hazing allegations involving players.
The announcement was made by chancellor Dan E. Arvizu late Tuesday after athletic director Mario Moccia told Heiar of the school’s decision.
“As I’ve stated previously, hazing has no place on our campus, and those found 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 to the integrity of our university.
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“We will also ensure that 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 this past weekend. The Aggies had been preparing to face California Baptist Saturday when the decision was passed down, 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 ensuring the school system’s students are safe and protected from harm, adding he is “heartbroken and sickened” to hear reports of hazing.
Arvizu also said the team was “interviewed by university personnel who are specially trained to conduct investigations into these kinds 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 left 21-year-old Aggies forward MIke Peake injured and 19-year-old UNM student 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 New Mexico State Police in December showed three people approach 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 struck 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 Aggies head coach, and though 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.