Earle Mosley, an ex-Notre Dame assistant testifying on tape Thursday in the age-discrimination suit of a former colleague, said that he was assaulted by coach Lou Holtz during the 1996 season.
Mosley, now an assistant at Stanford, was deposed as a witness in the age-discrimination suit brought against Notre Dame by ex-Holtz assistant Joe Moore. On the videotape, Mosley initially resisted answering a lawyer's questions about the incident at halftime of the 1996 Notre Dame-Boston College game, saying his lawyers had advised him against talking about it because of potential litigation.
Mosley said a Boston College fan spit on him as he went back to the locker room at halftime. He said something to the fan and Holtz then assaulted the coach, Mosley said. He added that several players had to restrain him from going after Holtz.
Mosley could not be reached for comment Thursday. Someone answering the phone at Holtz's residence in Orlando, Fla., said he was on the road, and Holtz did not return messages left for him by The Associated Press.
Of the nine assistants on Holtz's staff, only Mosley and Moore, 66, were not retained when Bob Davie was hired as coach after the 1996 season.
Moore, an offensive line coach under Holtz, is suing the university for $1 million. He was the only witness to take the stand Thursday after Mosley's videotaped testimony.
Notre Dame lawyers claim Moore was fired because he abused players and did not live up to the standard that Davie wanted to establish on his coaching staff.
While on the stand, Moore admitted to striking Notre Dame players on several occasions, though he claims he slapped them with an open hand and intended no harm. Irish lawyers countered several times by asking Moore if he ever punched players, citing an incident in which he is said to have left at least one of them bloodied after the annual spring scrimmage game in 1995.
Moore testified that he made a mistake during the scrimmage game when he struck five lineman alongside the head for a lax effort. But he denied every punching players
"I never remember punching one of those kids with my fist. Never. No ... no," Moore said, holding up a closed hand.
Moore's lawyer, Richard Lieberman, questioned him extensively about his background and reputation for developing linemen of such quality that almost all went on to the NFL.
During opening statements, Lieberman told the jury of five women and three men that Notre Dame's claims that Moore was fired because he abused players and was a poor representative of the program surfaced only after proceedings started for an age discrimination suit.
Notre Dame lawyer Gerald Lutkus said Moore was fired because he was an abusive coach with a hot temper and a foul mouth that didn't fit with Davie's image of Notre Dame football.
"We're not here because of age discrimination. We're here because this man, Joe Moore, wants to get even with Bob Davie," Lutkus said.
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