Woman tells police Joseph ‘pushed me on couch, strangled me’

Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports
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LINCOLN, Neb. – Mickey Joseph, Nebraska’s interim football coach for nine games this season, is accused of putting his hands around a woman’s throat, pulling her hair and punching her before being taken into custody, according to a police affidavit filed Thursday.

Joseph, 54, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of strangulation and third-degree domestic assault. Joseph denied to police that he assaulted the woman. Nebraska placed Joseph on administrative leave.

Joseph made his initial court appearance on video from the Lancaster County Jail on Thursday. He did not enter a plea. His bond was set at $20,000 and he was ordered not to have contact with the alleged victim. His next court appearance was set for Jan. 30. His attorney, Sean Brennan, did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Police went to a Lincoln residence Wednesday afternoon after a report of a domestic disturbance.

The woman said she and Joseph were in an argument when Joseph pushed her, causing her to fall onto a couch. She said Joseph got on top of her and placed his hands around her throat.

“He pushed me on the couch and strangled me,” she said, according to the affidavit. She said her breathing was impeded and that she wasn’t able to breathe until she pushed him off.

When she went into the kitchen, she said, Joseph grabbed her hair from behind and pulled her backward, causing her to fall to the floor. In the process of falling, she said, Joseph struck her in the left temple with a closed fist.

Police said she had visible redness and swelling around her left eye which was consistent with being struck, and she was observed to have several strands of hair clinging to her upper pant leg. She said the hairs were pulled from her when Joseph grabbed her.

The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they have been subjected to extreme abuse. The woman in the Joseph case has not publicly identified herself.

The woman also said Joseph also grabbed her phone and attempted to flush it down a toilet. Police said they saw the phone inside a container of rice on the kitchen counter.

A relative of the woman also was at the residence, and he told police he saw Joseph’s hands around the woman’s throat and that Joseph pushed her onto the couch after he yelled to him. Joseph left the home and was located by police at another location.

Joseph’s arrest came two days after Matt Rhule was introduced as the Cornhuskers’ new head coach. Rhule had said Monday he planned to meet with Joseph to discuss the possibility of Joseph remaining on the staff. Rhule declined comment through an athletic department spokesman.

Joseph is under contract through Dec. 31, 2023, and his annual salary is listed at $600,000. Under terms of the contract, he could be fired for cause if convicted of a misdemeanor or felony that impairs his ability to perform duties on behalf of the university. If a firing for cause is upheld, the university would not have to pay the remaining money owed on the contract.

Joseph was a quarterback for the Cornhuskers from 1988-91 and had run-ins with police during his playing days. He returned to Nebraska last December as receivers coach and was named interim head coach Sept. 11 after Alberts fired Scott Frost. The Huskers were 3-6 under Joseph and finished the season 4-8.

Marcus Satterfield leaves South Carolina to be Nebraska’s new OC

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LINCOLN, Neb. — Marcus Satterfield will join new Nebraska coach Matt Rhule‘s staff as offensive coordinator after serving in the same role at South Carolina for two seasons.

Rhule announced the hirings of five on-field assistants and a strength coach.

The other on-field assistants will be E.J. Barthel, running backs; Evan Cooper, secondary; Ed Foley, special teams coordinator; and Terrance Knighton, defensive line. Corey Campbell is the strength coach.

Satterfield worked six seasons for Rhule at Temple, Baylor and with the Carolina Panthers. His 2022 South Carolina offense averaged 31 points and 381 yards per game to rank in the middle of the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks combined for 94 points and 1,008 yards in wins over top-10 opponents Tennessee and Clemson to end the regular season.

Barthel was running backs coach at Connecticut under Jim Mora Jr. this season. He also worked with Rhule at Temple and with the Panthers.

Cooper has worked on Rhule’s staffs for a decade, and his 2019 Baylor secondary ranked among the best in the country.

Foley spent the past three seasons as an assistant special teams coach with the Panthers and worked with college special teams units that ranked in the top 25 nationally from 2015-19.

Knighton was an assistant defensive line coach for the Panthers for two years after playing a combined seven seasons for three NFL teams from 2009-15.

Campbell worked two seasons as an assistant strength coach for the Panthers and previously in the same capacity under Rhule at Baylor.

Nebraska signs Matt Rhule to 8-year deal

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After six straight losing seasons and more than 20 years removed from its 1990s heyday, Nebraska is turning to Matt Rhule to rebuild its program and make it competitive in the Big Ten Conference.

Rhule signed an eight-year contract to be the Cornhuskers’ next coach and will be introduced at a news conference, the school announced.

The 47-year-old Rhule quickly turned around downtrodden programs at Temple and Baylor before leaving for the NFL to coach the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers fired him in October after he started his third season with four losses in five games.

“It is a tremendous honor to be chosen to lead the Nebraska football program,” Rhule said in a statement. “When you think of great, tradition-rich programs in college football, Nebraska is right at the top of the list. The fan base is second to none, and I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to coach in Memorial Stadium on Tom Osborne Field. My family and I are so grateful to become a part of the Husker Family, and we can’t wait to get started.”

Rhule was 11-27 with Carolina and left with about $40 million remaining on the seven-year, guaranteed $62 million contract he signed in 2020. The contract made Rhule the sixth-highest paid coach in the NFL when he signed in 2020, according to Forbes.

Nebraska said it would release details of Rhule’s contract.

“It is a privilege to welcome Coach Matt Rhule, his wife, Julie, and their family to Nebraska,” athletic director Trev Alberts said. “Coach Rhule has created a winning culture throughout his coaching career, and he will provide great leadership for the young men in our football program.

“Matt is detail-oriented, his teams are disciplined and play a physical brand of football. Matt also has the personality and relationship-building skills to build a great staff and excel in recruiting.”

About an hour after Rhule’s hiring was announced, wide receiver Trey Palmer announced on Instagram that he would declare for the NFL draft. Palmer, who transferred from LSU after last season, had three 150-yard games this year and set the Huskers’ single-season record with 1,043 yards.

The Huskers are among eight Football Bowl Subdivision programs with at least 900 wins, and they have won or shared five national championships. The last one came in 1997 under Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne.

Five coaches have come and gone since then, most recently the quarterback of that ’97 team, Scott Frost.

Alberts fired Frost on Sept. 11 after the Huskers opened 1-2, with losses to Northwestern in Ireland and to Georgia Southern at home. They were 3-6 under interim coach Mickey Joseph and finished the season 4-8 following a 24-17 win at Iowa.

Nebraska was 16-31 in four-plus seasons under Frost, never finishing higher than fifth in the Big Ten West or going to a bowl.

In four seasons at Temple, Rhule coached the Owls to 28 wins. That included 26 from 2014-16. Temple was 10-4 in 2015 and reached the American Athletic Conference’s inaugural championship game. In 2016, Rhule led the Owls to a 10-3 record and an AAC championship. The conference title was the first in 49 seasons for the Temple program, and the Owls reached bowl games in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.

Rhule was named Baylor’s coach in December 2016 in the wake of an investigation that found the private Baptist university had not responded adequately to allegations of sexual assault by players, resulting in the firing of Art Briles.

Rhule’s trajectory was similar at Baylor, where he went from 1-11 in 2017 to 7-6 with a bowl game the next season. In his third and final season, Baylor was ranked in the top 10, played in the Big 12 championship game and finished 11-3 after a Sugar Bowl loss to Georgia.

Rhule’s collegiate success provided him the opportunity to take over as the Carolina Panthers’ head coach in 2020. He guided the Panthers to five wins in each of his first two seasons before this year’s 1-4 start got him fired.

Rhule has ties to the Big Ten. He moved from New York City to State College, Pennsylvania, as a teenager. He played linebacker at Penn State from 1994-97 and began his coaching there as a volunteer assistant.