Three Hamilton High basketball players said Tuesday that coach Ted Anderson paddled them for missing free throws in a game.
Jeremy Williams, Broderick Gilchrist and Paul Hagler, practicing at the school Tuesday, each said Anderson gave them one swat at halftime of a December 2003 game in Los Angeles.
"It didn't seem right to me," said Williams, 16.
"It'll make you play better," Hagler said.
Anderson, who has coached at Hamilton for more than 20 years, denied paddling for basketball-related reasons.
"Mostly for grades and misbehavior," a subdued Anderson said Tuesday, before heading to the gym.
The players agreed that Anderson usually paddled for disciplinary reasons.
"Disobeying the teacher. Doing something out of line," Williams said.
Four of the five players interviewed for this story said they'd been paddled, while the fifth was new to the team.
Anderson is key in a Monday report that outlines more troubles at the South Memphis high school.
Memphis City Schools Supt. Carol Johnson said Tuesday she hadn't yet met with human resources director Michael Goar about possible action.
Anderson has paddled several players for poor play while verbally abusing others, including calling some players a "bitch," the report said. It also says he hit a player in the chest with a "closed fist."
According to city schools' policy, corporal punishment is to be given "by the principal, acting principal, assistant principal or the teacher involved, provided permission is granted by and the punishment witnessed by one of the three previously mentioned administrative persons."
The report also said he made improper sexual comments to a fellow teacher and mentions possible sexual contact with students, though it says that can't be proven.
The report also says that four basketball players cheated on the TCAP test and that other athletes cheated on the ACT exam.
An unnamed teacher gave as many as 42 Gateway test answers in two of his classes, the report states.
Former assistant principal Van Snyder is accused in the report of making sexual comments or overtures to at least four students. Snyder resigned April 23. A letter in his personnel file gave no details, but he was put on paid leave March 24.
This report follows earlier turmoil at Hamilton, when former football coach Jeff Sawyer fathered a child with a student, then tried to arrange an abortion.
Former principal Osceola 'Sonny' Hicks lost his job in the wake of that investigation.
Anderson called the new allegations "ludicrous," saying that many of the claims came from a disgruntled former player.
He wouldn't name the player, but said it wasn't Shawne Williams, a University of Memphis signee who transferred to a prep school earlier this year. Williams couldn't be reached for comment.
"Witch hunt. Just digging for stuff, just trying to dig something up," Anderson said.
He also denied any improper contact with students or the teacher.
Others rallied behind Anderson, who is also Hamilton's athletic director.
"I've known Coach A a long time, and he's one of the best coaches I've been around," said Arthur Faulkner, whose son Omari played for Anderson.
Faulkner said he was unaware of any paddling or name calling.
Former NBA player Todd Day, a Hamilton graduate and Anderson's stepson, said he was frequently paddled, but mostly for disciplinary reasons. He added that discipline could be classroom- or basketball-related.
"He's the kind of coach, if you were cutting up at school, he'd wait and get you at practice," said Day, who attended Tuesday's practice.
Day also said he's heard Anderson use the word "bitch," but never toward players.
Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association executive director Ronnie Carter said few of the report's alleged violations came under his purview.
- Jody Callahan: 529-6531
Michael Erskine contributed to this report.
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