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Coach at major college football program arrested on strangulation charge

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Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

The man who just led one of the most storied college football programs to its best win in years has now been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and strangulation.

On Wednesday afternoon, the former interim head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Robert "Mickey" Joseph, was arrested in Lincoln, Nebraska, after police received a report that he had physically attacked someone close to him.

Police said they responded to a call at a residence in nearby Grant, Nebraska, just before 2 p.m. and shortly thereafter arrested Joseph at a separate location in Lincoln, about 20 minutes away. He has been booked at the Lancaster County Jail and charged with third-degree domestic assault strangulation.

Screen shot of Lancaster County website

In a statement, Lincoln police admitted that they do "not normally provide a news release for a domestic-related arrest," but considering "the high-profile nature of the person involved" and their own desire "to provide transparency on an arrest involving a public figure," they announced Joseph's arrest.

They added that they will not release any other information regarding "the identity of the victim and any injures" he or she may have allegedly sustained.

Joseph, 54, has been on the Nebraska coaching staff since last December, when he was hired by then-head coach Scott Frost, 47, to be the Huskers' wide receivers coach, associate head coach, and passing game coordinator.

When Frost, a former Cornhusker, was fired two games into the season in September, Joseph was promoted to interim head coach. The team went 3-6 under his leadership and even notched a remarkable win against the Iowa Hawkeyes last Friday. The team had won just three games in each of the past two seasons under Frost.

Joseph, who also once played quarterback for the Huskers, won a national championship as the wide receivers coach of the LSU Tigers in 2019. He has been placed on administrative leave in Lincoln.

"I was made aware of the charges against Coach Joseph, and given the nature of the allegations and based on university police, he has been placed on administrative leave," said Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts. "We will have no additional comment at this time."

Matt Rhule has since been named the new Nebraska head coach. Regardless of Joseph's arrest, it is unclear whether Rhule intends to retain Joseph or whether Joseph would even want to stay under Rhule's leadership.

Though the Huskers have struggled in recent years, they remain one of the blue bloods of college football. In 123 years, they have claimed five national titles (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, and 1997), 46 conference titles, and 10 division titles. Their most recent success came under legendary head coach Tom Osborne, who led the team from 1973 until 1997. Both Frost and Joseph played quarterback for Nebraska under Osborne.

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