Conference USA officials said Thursday they are reviewing an outburst by first-year UTEP coach Tim Floyd that got him tossed out of his team’s loss at East Carolina, including being escorted off the court by a police officer.
The Miners (20-8, 8-5 CUSA) were whistled for 27 fouls and five technicals in the 83-76 loss to East Carolina at noisy Minges Coliseum in Greenville, N.C., on Wednesday night. The Pirates (14-13, 6-7) went 35-for-45 from the free-throw line.
Floyd and assistant coach Phil Johnson both received two technicals and were ejected with 18:48 left in the game. Floyd said he wasn’t sure why he got the first one, and he marched onto the court to yell at the official who gave it to him.
“I was given a warning for having my foot out of the coaching box,” Floyd said after the game. “I haven’t got a technical all year long, so I went back to the bench. Next thing I know, I have a technical and I didn’t know why I got it.
“I was not upset with the officials at that point,” he said. “I was coaching my team after the first one.”
Floyd continued to yell at the officials before an officer stationed courtside intervened, and escorted him to the locker room.
“It has been my experience this year that I’ve had a lot of men come over to me and say, ‘Coach, you need to get back in the box and let us work,”’ Floyd said. “I tend to do that. I guess I probably reacted to that first technical, not really understanding why it was given. I probably earned the second one, but that’s part of the game.”
Senior guard Randy Culpepper, who led UTEP with 22 points in the loss, also received a technical in the final minute. Culpepper is the league’s third-leading scorer, averaging 19.6 points per game.
Floyd was not immediately available for comment Thursday because the team was traveling back to El Paso from North Carolina.
The loss was costly to the Miners, dropping them a game behind Southern Miss and UAB for first place in the conference standings with three to play. UTEP will host the Conference USA tournament at the Don Haskins Center, where the Miners are 15-2 this season.
The incident was Floyd’s first public misstep as the head coach at UTEP, where he worked as an assistant under Haskins from 1977-86. He had quietly worked under the radar in his first season with the Miners, building a fresh start after leaving Southern Cal under a cloud of scandal.
The Trojans made three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and had three consecutive 20-win seasons under Floyd, but he quit in 2009 after he was accused of giving $1,000 in cash to a middleman who helped steer O.J. Mayo to the school.
Floyd has denied the allegations while the school wound up banning itself from postseason play and throwing out the wins from Mayo’s lone season with the Trojans in 2007-08.