Syracuse University fires assistant coach Fine amid sex abuse scandal

Syracuse University fired longtime assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine on Sunday. / Source: AP

Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor has told faculty, staff and students that the events surrounding the firing of long-time assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine "have shaken us all."

Fine, in the midst of a sexual abuse scandal, was fired yesterday after a third man accused the assistant basketball coach of molesting him nine years ago.

The 65-year-old Fine was in his 36th season at his alma mater. He had the longest active streak of consecutive seasons at one school among assistant coaches in Division I.

In her email, Cantor says the university community, people, individually and collectively, has the responsibility "to ensure that Syracuse University remains a safe place for every campus community member and everyone with whom we interact on a daily basis."

She says the university is cooperating fully with the investigation and that the university does not tolerate abuse.

Coach Jim Boeheim, who had previously expressed strong support for his longtime friend, released a statement through the school in which he agreed with the university's decision.

"The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing and deeply troubling," Boeheim said in the statement, which was reported by ESPN. "I am personally very shocked because I have never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged. I believe the university took the appropriate step tonight. What is most important is that this matter be fully investigated and that anyone with information be supported to come forward so that the truth can be found. I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse."

Earlier Sunday, ESPN's "Outside the Lines" aired a recorded phone conversation said to have taken place in 2002 between the first victim to come forward and Fine's wife. In the conversation, Fine's wife admitted worrying that the man had been sexually abused by her husband as a teenager.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.