DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Duke University’s lacrosse coach resigned Wednesday and the school canceled the rest of the season amid a scandal involving allegations that three players raped a stripper at an off-campus party.
Mike Pressler spent 16 seasons at Duke and won three Atlantic Coast Conference championships. Last year, his team appeared in the national championship game.
“Coach Pressler offered me his resignation earlier this afternoon and I accepted it,” said Duke athletic director Joe Alleva. “I believe this is in the best interests of the program, the department of athletics and the university.”
The rape allegations have roiled the campus and the city of Durham, raised racial tensions and heightened the long-standing antagonism between the privileged students at the elite university and the poorer people of Durham.
The stripper is black and said her attackers were white. Investigators and witnesses have said the lacrosse players taunted her with racial slurs and insults.
Students and townspeople have marched on campus and off, angry over the school’s handling of the allegations and the team members’ refusal to cooperate with police. Investigators said the athletes are sticking together and keeping silent.