LINCOLN, Neb. — The University of Nebraska’s former interim football coach is accused of attempting to strangle a woman, pulling her hair and punching her, authorities said.
Robert L. “Mickey” Joseph, 54, of Lincoln, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of strangulation and third-degree assault, the Lincoln Police Department said in a news release. The strangulation allegation is a felony, while the alleged assault is a misdemeanor, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.
The university placed Joseph, who coached the Cornhuskers for the team’s final nine games in 2022, on administrative leave, Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts said in a statement.
Joseph has denied the accusations.
“I was made aware of the charges against coach Joseph and given the nature of the allegations and based on University policy he has been placed on administrative leave,” Alberts said. “We will have no additional comment at this time.”
In an incident report, the 34-year-old victim is not identified, KMTV reported.
“He pushed me on the couch and strangled me,” the woman said, according to an affidavit, adding that her breathing was impaired.
The woman said that when she went into the kitchen, Joseph grabbed her hair from behind and pulled her backward, causing her to fall. She also alleged that Joseph struck her in the left temple with a closed fist.
Joseph made his initial court appearance on Thursday via video from the Lancaster County Jail, according to The Associated Press. He did not enter a plea.
Joseph’s bail was set at $20,000 and he was ordered not to have contact with the alleged victim, the news organization reported. His attorney, Sean Brennan, did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Joseph was a four-year quarterback from 1988 to 1991, according to Sports-Reference.com. A rushing and passing threat, Joseph ran for 1,091 yards and 16 touchdowns, and passed for 909 yards and 14 touchdowns. His best season was 1990, when he rushed for 10 touchdowns and threw 11 scoring passes.
Joseph was hired by former head coach Scott Frost in December 2021 to be the team’s associate head coach, receivers coach and passing game coordinator, the Journal Star reported. After Frost was fired on Sept. 11, Alberts promoted Joseph to be Nebraska’s interim coach for the remainder of the season.
Joseph’s contract with Nebraska runs through Dec. 31, 2023, the newspaper reported. However, he can be fired for cause if he was found to have been in “violation or breach of any applicable federal, state or municipal laws,” or “violation of any felony or misdemeanor criminal statute resulting in a conviction that relates to, impacts or impairs (his) ability to perform duties on behalf of the University,” according to his contract.
Joseph’s next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 30, 2023, the AP reported.
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