CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- UNLESS INVESTED in a particular team, sports fans enjoy a good fight.
Sometimes literally. Most of the time, though, figuratively.
We want to see athletes and teams claw and battle. We want to see Rafael Nadal sweat and toil through a break in an extended fifth set against Novak Djokovic to win on the clay.
Sometimes, however, the battles are not enjoyable to watch. Sometimes they are not fun at all, especially for those involved.
Such is the case with the battle of University of Charleston men's basketball coach Mark Downey.
This past week, Downey returned from a vacation to South Carolina, which experienced remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea.
It was the second storm experienced by Downey of late.
At the end of April, Downey and his family were at the Ruthlawn baseball field for a Little League game involving son Bryce.
When the cell phone chirped.
It was assistant coach Mark Richmond with news that UC's best player from the previous season - Terrell Lipkins - had been arrested for robbery. Ditto the team's third-leading scorer in Robbie Dreher and fifth-leading scorer Quincy Washington.
"It was a shock," Downey said. "I had no idea at all. Quincy Washington and Lipkins had never been in trouble before. They were quiet kids. Robbie [Dreher] too, although he'd been in trouble and gotten out of it.
"Mark said they'd arrested Lipkins and took his car. Then I got a call from the police asking me to come down [to the station] and help sort it out, look at pictures.
"I had Robbie and Quincy turn themselves in the next day."
Immediately, UC divorced itself from the players. They were evicted from the campus and tossed from the basketball team.
Yet there were arrows shot at Downey. Dreher had pleaded guilty in the past of second-degree assault and battery. A female at Winthrop University had accused Dreher and a fellow then-teammate of sexually assaulting her when she rejected their advances.
"People were questioning me," Downey said. "But all three were vetted. We took a second chance with a kid [in Dreher]. We've done that a lot with success in regard to players, in regard to degrees."
Not this time.
"Personally, it was hard," Downey said. "People don't look at the past, the games won, the graduations. They think I brought in kids for the wrong reasons. I understand that."