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Miami of Ohio coach arrested

OXFORD, Ohio, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Miami of Ohio indefinitely suspended two football coaches Wednesday after one was arrested for sending a fan to the hospital and the other vandalized the coaches' box following a 36-34 loss at Marshall on Tuesday night.

Defensive coordinator Jon Wauford and linebackers coach Taver Johnson were suspended immediately -- with pay -- pending the outcome of a full investigation, according to Miami Athletic Director Steve Snyder.

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Several Marshall fans stormed the field after backup quarterback Stan Hill scrambled for a one-yard touchdown run with five seconds remaining in the Mid-American Conference matchup.

As the coaches and teams were heading to the locker room, Wauford pushed a Marshall fan, Robert Flaugher, to the ground. The 36-year-old Flaugher was taken on a stretcher to a hospital, treated and released.

A former defensive end, the 32-year-old Wauford was handcuffed by West Virginia state police, taken to the Cabell County Magistrate Court and charged with battery. He was released and given a court appearance for Dec. 16.

Johnson took responsibility for damaging the coaches' press box at Marshall University Stadium after Miami was on the wrong end of some questionable calls in the closing moments of their loss to the rival Thundering Herd.

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"Both these incidents were highly regrettable," Snyder said. "Miami has a rich tradition in athletics with high expectations for its coaches. These are leadership positions, and the individuals holding them are held to the highest standards."

Snyder added that the school is disappointed that the actions of the two coaches, "took away from the competitive efforts of both teams."

The game was a thriller. Miami scored 17 straight points to grab a 34-29 lead in the third quarter before Hill -- playing for injured star quarterback Byron Leftwich -- capped the winning scoring drive with his one-yard scramble.

"I just hope that these incidents don't overshadow the outstanding game we had on the field between two fine football teams," Marshall Athletic Director Bob Marcum said.

Marcum said Miami administrators called early Wednesday morning to apologize for the events following the game and offered to cover costs for repairs to the coaches' booth.

Snyder noted that tensions surrounding the rivalry were intense and included various threats to RedHawks players and coaches, such as internet bulletin board warnings about food poisoning efforts.

"However, these tensions in no way excuse any unsportsmanlike behavior," Synder added.

Wauford played at Miami from 1988-91 and was a three-time All-MAC selection. He played three seasons in the CFL and coached four years at the University of Findlay in Ohio before becoming defensive line coach at Miami in 1999.

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Johnson is in his third year as linebackers coach following a one-year stint as graduate assistant at Notre Dame. He was a Division III All-American linebacker from 1992-93 at Wittenberg University in Ohio.

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