After a softball game between Auburn and Florida on March 27, Haley Fagan, a senior at Auburn, refused to shake hands with Florida coach Tim Walton (video below).
Walton gave Fagan what appeared to be a minor shove, and she responded by giving Walton a small shove back, notes Sports Illustrated.
They exchanged words, and Walton appeared to tell Fagan, "I didn’t hit you. No, I didn’t."
Fagan was so upset and fired up by the interaction that her teammates had to hold her back.
Walton issued an apology on March 28, reports ESPN:
I apologize to Haley. I just wanted to congratulate Auburn on the win -- it was a good series. My intent was to give a high-five to each opposing player as we do after every game.
Apparently, her hand wasn't up as I said "good game" and I touched her shoulder. I should have paid closer attention and did not intend to upset her. I regret that this has taken attention away from the effort and sportsmanship both teams displayed all weekend.
The tension between Fagan and Walton may go back to when Walton kicked her sisters Kasey and Sami and another player, Cheyenne Coyle, off the Florida team hours prior a 2012 NCAA tournament game.
Sami wrote on Facebook at the time that she and her sister were not booted off the team because of rumored "racism or bullying."
The girls' dad, Kevin Fagan, told The Gainesville Sun that his daughters' dismissal was related to "an altercation on the team":
My two girls and Cheyenne Coyle have been released from the team. They're free to go anywhere they want. We've already got several calls from teams that are interested. The team sort of divided and Walton felt like it was in his best interest to get rid of those three.
At the time, Walton said the girls were "suspended indefinitely until the end of the season," but Kevin made it clear his daughters were not coming back.
"I've scheduled an appointment with the athletic director, but yes, they're done there," Kevin stated. "They won't play there anymore."
Sami had a .378 batting average, Kasey's was .261 and Coyle hit .232. Coyle was considered the team's best defensive player at the time.
Sami ended up going to Missouri, and Kasey transferred to Arkansas. Kasey and Coyle later became graduate assistants at Auburn, reports Sports Illustrated.
Auburn coach Clint Myers did not comment about the altercation between Fagan and Watson, notes ESPN.
Auburn defeated Florida 1-0 on March 27 in a three-game series; Florida won the first two games.
Sources: Sports Illustrated, The Gainesville Sun, ESPN / Photo Credit: University Athletic Association, Inc./Wikimedia Commons