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Conference looking into incident with Nevada's Fox

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- The Western Athletic Conference will conduct an investigation into an alleged confrontation between Nevada coach Mark Fox and a police officer and game officials after the Wolf Pack's loss at last week's conference tournament.

A report from New Mexico State University police details a
confrontation inside the Pan American Center after then-No. 10
Nevada lost 79-77 to Utah State in the WAC semifinals on Friday
night.

NMSU Officer Quent Pirtle said in the report he was escorting
officials Bill Gracey, Winston Stith and Larry Spaulding to their
dressing room when he heard Fox using "loud, boisterous and
profane language toward the officials."

Fox was not arrested and no charges were filed, but WAC
Commissioner Karl Benson said the league will investigate.

The day after the incident, Fox told the Reno Gazette-Journal
that he and Gracey encountered each other after the game.

"We got stuck in the same hallway. I said something to the
official that I regret. I apologize to him and the conference. I've
got to realize when the game ends, it ends," Fox told the
newspaper.

Nevada Athletic Director Cary Groth said in a statement late
Tuesday that she has instructed Fox to make no further comment on
the matter until after the NCAA Tournament. She said the incident
occurred at the end of a "very emotional" game.

"We were in very confined quarters, and in the heat of the
moment, Coach Fox made inappropriate comments to the game officials
when leaving the floor. He knows he shouldn't have made those
comments and by doing so violated the WAC's sportsmanship policy,"
Groth said.

"He has apologized to the officials, the conference, his team
and the university, and both he and the university have cooperated
fully with the WAC."

Nevada (28-4) plays Creighton (22-10) in a first-round NCAA
Tournament game Friday in New Orleans. Benson said the incident
would not prevent Fox from coaching the Wolf Pack during the
tournament.

Pirtle said the confrontation began in a hallway leading from
the court.

"As Mr. Fox continued to curse and be abusive toward the
officials, he continued to close distance," Pirtle wrote. "I
placed my hand on the back of the last official and tried to hurry
him up the ramp."

Pirtle said at that point Fox was about 2 feet away.

"I slowed down and put my hand across his chest to prevent him
from getting any closer to the official," Pirtle said.

The officer said Fox told him, "Don't put your [expletive]
hands on me."

"I told Mr. Fox to back off and again pushed against him to
keep him from the officials," Pirtle said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.