Bennett denies assaulting player at KSU

By GAYLE COULTER and BETH CRACE State Journal Staf Published:

Winston Bennett, the Kentucky State University basketball coach fired in November after allegedly hitting one of his players, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment today on fourth-degree assault charges in Franklin District Court.

Bennett, represented by Chris Meinhart, a Louisville attorney, appeared briefly during his mid-morning arraignment. A pre-trial conference has been set for 10 a.m. Feb. 24.

"We'll either have it worked out by that time or the court will set a trial date," said Meinhart.

Meinhart and Bennett declined further comment until the matter is settled.

The assault charges stem from a criminal complaint filed with Franklin County Attorney Jim Boyd by KSU basketball player Ricky Green alleging Bennett struck him in the face, bloodied his nose and tore his shirt.

Green's complaint, originally filed Oct. 30, 2003, said Bennett apparently thought he hit another player in the head with a basketball while trying to prevent the ball from going out of bounds.

Green was not present Tuesday for his former coach's arraignment.

KSU administrators fired Bennett on Nov. 6, a week after Green made his complaint.

Fourth-degree assault is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and a $500 fine.

Former KSU Athletic Director Derrick Ramsey said officials talked to Bennett and reviewed the charge made by Green before reaching the decision to fire Bennett.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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