Georgia men’s tennis head coach Manny Diaz reported a prescription drug theft took place at the program’s tennis complex less than a week before two assistants were suspended.
In the aftermath of what it is now an investigation being conducted by law enforcement, men’s assistant coach Bo Hodge and women’s assistant coach Drake Bernstein were suspended from their respective programs during the weekend. Late Sunday, The Telegraph requested to campus police any incident reports that were filed concerning Hodge or Bernstein. Early Monday, a police representative stated a related report had been filed.
That report was returned Tuesday morning, although no names outside of Diaz’s was mentioned in it. No arrests have been made.
In it, Diaz was listed as the reporting party who told the UGA Police Department that a “possible theft and mishandling of prescription medication involving a number of individuals within the tennis program” took place.
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The two types of incidents listed were theft by taking of one cent to $1,500 and possession of drugs in the Schedule I and II categories. No other information was provided in the police report.
Diaz said he was instructed not to comment on specifics regarding the investigation. While he revealed players on his team were involved in some capacity, no one will sit out during the tournament. Diaz said he was told the NCAA is not investigating this incident.
“It’s an ongoing investigation,” Diaz said. “We’ll just have to let the law enforcement folks do their job. We’ve counseled the kids. The kids are in a good place, and we’re moving forward.”
With Hodge suspended, Diaz brought back Will Glenn, a former assistant who once earned national assistant coach of the year honors, to help out. In addition, Diaz enlisted former UGA tennis player Javier Garrapiz’s help.
Freshman Robert Loeb declined to comment on the investigation, but said it has been a help having both Glenn and Garrapiz assisting since Hodge’s suspension.
“We all love (Glenn),” Loeb said. “I think we know him well and know what to expect so we’re excited. ... (Garrapiz) has watched a lot of our matches. We’ve hung out with him a few times so we know he’s super positive. We like him a lot.”
The Georgia women’s team (19-5) has relied on volunteer assistant Vroni Van Berlo and graduate manager Will Reynolds to assist head coach Jeff Wallace in the wake of Bernstein’s suspension. Wallace declined to comment on the investigation when meeting with reporters about the NCAA Championships tournament Tuesday morning.
Diaz said the investigation hasn’t been discussed much since it was initially addressed with his team. He isn’t worried about this being a distraction with the tournament underway. Tuesday marked the first day other schools could practice on Georgia’s home court at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, signaling how close the national championship atmosphere is to arriving.
“Our kids know that I’ve got their back,” Diaz said. “We’re here to assist them in any way they need. We’re just helping out the best way we can to make this a positive tournament.”
In the first and second rounds last week, the men’s team won its first two matches over Florida A&M and South Florida. The women’s team, seeded fifth, defeated South Carolina State and N.C. State to advance to the round of 16.
The men are scheduled to take on fourth-seeded USC at 4 p.m. on Thursday, while the women will face 12th-seeded Pepperdine at 4 p.m. on Friday.
Diaz noted that his energy has been placed in making sure his team is ready to compete against the Trojans, a team that defeated the Bulldogs 4-0 in the SEC/Pac-12 Showdown earlier this season.
“We don’t talk about this incident anymore,” Diaz said. “We put it behind us. We’ve moved forward.”