SoCalHoops College News Report
Northwestern Bad Stuff: Matt Purdy,
Cal Poly Asst.Coach Resigns--(April 23,1998)
The Associated Press is reporting that Matt Purdy, who was allegedly implicated by a former teammate in the Northwestern basketball point-shaving scheme, has resigned as an assistant coach at Cal Poly Pomona. "My family and I have gone through a very difficult few weeks," Purdy said in a statement released by the university Thursday. "My wife and I felt that we needed to break away from the coaching profession at this time and pursue other ventures."
Purdy was the subject of an internal investigation by Cal Poly because of the federal litigation at Northwestern. Cal Poly dropped its investigation when Purdy informed the school last Friday that he was resigning.
Tom Marshall, who recently left his post as Cal Poly's coach, had backed Purdy, saying, "We support Matt 100 percent. It was unfortunate Matt got mentioned at all because from what I've got, he wasn't involved at all." Former Northwestern player Kenneth Dion Lee pleaded guilty Monday to a sports bribery charge in the point-shaving scheme. Lee pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit sports bribery. He admitted he accepted or agreed to accept cash bribes from former Notre Dame kicker Kevin Pendergast to fix three Northwestern games in the winter of 1995. Lee also admitted recruiting two teammates to be part of the point-shaving scheme -- Dewey Williams, who has pleaded innocent, and Purdy, who has not been indicted.
But prosecutors alleged he was one of three players to receive bribes, but they did not charge him because of his negligible impact on the three games in question. He may yet be charged.
Purdy was an All-CIF basketball player at Santa Barbara High in 1991. "He was an absolute straight-arrow kid,'' said longtime SBHS teacher Fred Warrecker. "He was polite and proper, a diligent student. I'm sure he's a good person still."
Los Angeles lawyer Leonard Levine, speaking on Purdy's behalf, said his client was cooperating with investigators and described him as "an honest, hard-working coach."
Cal Poly Pomona abruptly dismissed head basketball coach Tom Marshall on April 3, and last week Marshall told the Chicago Tribune that his firing was connected with Purdy. School officials would not comment. Marshall had been there four years and compiled a 63-44 record. But he was criticized in a Pomona newspaper editorial after the Northwestern story broke and he expressed support of Purdy.
"Matt Purdy wasn't even indicted,'' Marshall told the Tribune. "I'm blown away by this."
Purdy's name came up again Monday when former Northwestern guard Kenneth Dion Lee pleaded guilty for his part in the conspiracy. Authorities in Chicago said Lee had recruited two other players, Dewey Williams and Purdy, to join him on the take. They each allegedly received $700 to $1,000 from Lee.
As Levine said of Purdy: "He would prefer it not be on his resume."
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