That would be the same Todd Bozeman whose once-promising coaching career hit a snag when he was at Cal in the mid-1990s because he admitted he had paid a recruit's family $30,000. The affair kept Bozeman away from the college game for 10 years after the NCAA slapped him with a show-cause penalty, but he's been at Morgan State since 2006, and he's twice guided the Bears to the NCAA Tournament.
In February 2007, Bozeman was arrested for allegedly assaulting a woman at a Virginia restaurant, but those charges were eventually dropped after he apologized. And now, whatever he did to senior guard Larry Bastfield Saturday night at the end of a game at South Carolina State, it was enough for the school to suspend him, with pay.
Some who viewed the incident in person, including [South Carolina State] school president George E. Cooper, thought that Bozeman had punched Bastfield in the face. Both Bozeman and Bastfield said Sunday night that the incident had been blown out of proportion.
In a telephone interview, Bastfield said that he "exaggerated" his reaction to the contact with Bozeman. Bastfield staggered a few feet backwards after contact with Bozeman, who, according to witnesses, yelled at Bastfield, "Get back here!" after he retreated.
"These people are completely off the charts" with the allegation, Bozeman said in a telephone interview. "I didn't hit him in the face."
But Christopher Johnson, a South Carolina State graduate who was attending the game, said that he and others clearly saw Bozeman strike the player and hear him yell at Bastfield moments later. Johnson said he was sitting in the front row of the upper level of the small gym.
"The fans all went, 'Ohhhhhhh' when it happened," Johnson said. "It was pretty dramatic."
Bastfield also told the Sun Bozeman had bumped him in the chest accidentally, while Bozeman said he would have "left a mark" had he intentionally struck Bastfield. Which may or may not be true. The one mark Bozeman certainly keeps leaving is on his reputation.