A handshake between two head coaches Saturday turned ugly in New Jersey.
After Seton Hall defeated Wagner, 71-52, Pirates head coach Shaheen Holloway pulled Donald Copeland’s arm while the two spoke and had to be separated.
The Asbury Park Press said the two, former Seton Hall guards, shared a “warm embrace” before the game.
Wagner’s Tahron Allen fouled a Pirate with 37 seconds left when all Seton Hall had to do was just dribble the clock out.
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Holloway made his displeasure known to Copeland before yanking his arm and advancing in the line while other coaches stood in their way.
The Pirates coach expressed regret after the game.
“I take full responsibility for that,” Holloway said afterward. “I like Donald. Donald is like a little brother to me. I am super disappointed that that happened. As the bigger brother, I take full responsibility for it because it should have never happened.
“I’ve got to realize, when guys are competing, friendship and stuff like that go out the window,” he added. “He’s fighting for this team, and I respect it. Like I said, I take responsibility for that. I like Donald, I respect him. He’s a good person, a good player and a good coach.”
Copeland also apologized both publicly and to his team in private.
“I have a ton of respect for Sha. I always looked up to him coming up as a smaller guard. He’s a competitor, I’m a competitor, too. That’s probably a little bit of a part of it,” he said.
“I just try to coach my team. That’s what I focus on now, no matter who I’m playing. I want to coach my team from start to finish. I think it’s unfortunate what happened, for him and me. We’re two alums, Seton Hall means the world to me. That’s why the first thing I did was talk to my guys about the culture piece. That’s not how you react and behave. I’ll take responsibility for my part in it. I’m not going to go into what it was, but I want to coach my team from start to finish and that’s what I’m doing.”
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Holloway was the head coach of St. Peter’s when the team advanced to the Elite Eight as a 15 seed in 2022, an unprecedented feat.
Copeland assisted Seton Hall for the 2021-22 season before taking the job at Wagner.