Friday, June 22, 2007

Pressler gets to 'The Truth'

The former Duke lacrosse coach is back in Durham with copies of his new book

Anne Blythe, Staff Writer
News & Observer
22 June 2007

Former Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler gets a hug from supporter Sherry Hollcraft during his book signing.

DURHAM - Mike Pressler, the former Duke lacrosse coach, waited more than a year for the truth to come out about false accusations of sexual assault that cost him his job.

On Thursday -- in what has been a week full of news surrounding the Duke lacrosse case -- the coach-turned-author told a crowd of supporters at the Regulator Bookshop that he still awaits one thing: an apology.

"A big part of education is when you're wrong, you admit you're wrong," Pressler said.

Nearly 150 people packed the Regulator on Thursday evening to show support for a man who lost his job at the height of the outrage over an escort service dancer's false accusations that three lacrosse players raped her.

Pressler is on a book tour with Sports Illustrated writer Don Yaeger, who helped write "It's Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Case and the Lives It Shattered."

Pressler's visit to Durham came in the same week that District Attorney Mike Nifong learned he would lose his law license and was removed from office.

Pressler regaled his followers with a few stories in the book and spoke about meeting Nifong's nephew at a lacrosse camp.

Many in the bookstore said Duke President Richard Brodhead and Athletics Director Joe Alleva should share some of the blame with Nifong.

"I'm embarrassed over our administration, the way they handled the situation," said Jean Senter, an administrator who has worked at Duke for 17 years. "It's just a shame. I think the Duke community needs to step up and make this right. They owe [the players and Pressler] that apology. When they expelled the three players and let Coach Pressler go, they were saying, 'They are guilty right now and don't get to prove their innocence.' "

The book-signing drew many in Durham who have kept up with every twist and turn in a case that grabbed the national media attention from the outset.

Eugene Brown, a Durham City councilman, came to ask about police interactions with the coach and players.

Sherry Hollcraft, a Duke basketball fan, showed up to support a man she said was treated "despicably."

"The whole team was treated with utmost rudeness," Hollcraft said. "It should never have happened. The only thing those boys were ever guilty of was just being boys. That's it."

Staff writer Anne Blythe can be reached at 932-8741 or

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