Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Felony Domestic Assault Case Against Former Interim Head Coach Mickey Joseph Dismissed

April 05, 2023

The felony domestic assault case against former Nebraska interim head coach Mickey Joseph was dismissed in court on Wednesday because the alleged victim refused to testify. Joseph faced a charge of felony assault via suffocation or strangulation stemming from a November incident.

Prosecutor Erica Pruess told Lancaster County Judge Laurie Yardley earlier today that the alleged victim emailed Pruess and refused to testify. Pruess also told the court authorities in Arizona, where the alleged victim now lives, were unsuccessful in attempts to serve a summons that would require the alleged victim’s appearance.

Lincoln Police were called to the Joseph residence in south Lincoln on the afternoon of November 30. Following an investigation, authorities arrested Joseph at a separate location on a charge of domestic assault by strangulation or suffocation, a felony. That investigation concluded the alleged victim suffered bruising on the face and neck, including visible redness and swelling around their left eye, consistent with an account of punching and choking. The alleged victim claimed to police that Joseph pushed her onto the couch and strangled her. A police affidavit shows Joseph denied striking the victim or pulling their hair. He was logged at Lancaster County Corrections after the alleged incident and was released after posting bail.

An affidavit filed to the court in December showed the alleged incident stemmed from an argument with his wife over infidelity. According to the two-page affidavit signed by Lincoln Police Officer Steve Redlin, Joseph pushed his wife from the front, causing her to fall onto the couch. He then got on top of her and placed his hands around her throat. According to the affidavit, she claimed she couldn’t breathe until she pushed him off. The argument moved into their kitchen, where Joseph allegedly pulled her hair and punched her. Joseph later allegedly took her cell phone and tried flushing it down the toilet.

The university placed him on administrative leave upon learning of the charges. Two weeks later, a spokesperson confirmed Joseph was no longer employed by the university or part of the football program.

Joseph, 55, played quarterback for the Huskers from 1988-91. A significant knee injury sustained against Oklahoma altered the course of his playing career and, after a short offseason run in the Canadian Football League, he moved into coaching. Joseph bounced around various coaching spots, starting at Omaha North High School and Wayne State in Nebraska, since 1997. Joseph eventually worked his way up to wide receivers coach at LSU in 2017. He assumed associate head coach duties there in 2020. Former Nebraska head coach Scott Frost hired Joseph from LSU in December 2021 to be the Huskers’ wide receivers coach, associate head coach and passing game coordinator.

Frost was fired on September 11, following a 45-42 loss to Georgia Southern the night before. Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts named Joseph the interim head coach from that point forward. Joseph remained interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Nebraska finished 3-6 during Joseph’s tenure as interim head coach.

Nebraska announced Matt Rhule as the new head football coach the morning after the Huskers beat rival Iowa in Iowa City. Alberts introduced Rhule as head coach on November 28. Rhule previously said he met with Joseph about a potential position on his coaching staff.

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