Marion Jones' Coach Faces Indictment in BALCO case

Graham is the first coach targeted by U.S. sports authorities, and he figures to come under closer scrutiny. He also faces possible sanctions from the U.S. Olympic Committee as well as track and field's world governing body.

"You would hope so," a U.S. official said when asked if a federal indictment would put Graham out of business.

What is presumed to be a key element in the indictment against Graham is his knowledge and possible involvement with Angel Guillermo Heredia, a former athlete and nutritionist who reportedly testified to providing steroids, human growth hormone and the performance-enhancing drug EPO to Graham and many of his athletes. The New York Times reported that Heredia, who has homes in Laredo, Texas, and in Mexico, testified to having provided the drugs from about 1996 through 2000.

Graham has never testified before the grand jury.

However, The Times reported Graham gave a statement to federal investigators in 2004, denying he set up any of his athletes with illegal performance-enhancing drugs. According to The Times, Graham contradicted Heredia's account, saying he had never met him in person and had not spoken to him since 1997.

Graham told ESPN.com he last dealt with Heredia in 1998, when he unsuccessfully worked to have Heredia admitted to Saint Augustine's College, his alma mater. "That was the end of that," Graham said.

Evans, Graham's top assistant, was a teammate and friend of Heredia at San Jacinto College in Texas.

Asked if anyone in his group had any dealings with Heredia, Graham said, "No, none of us."

As for reports that Sprint Capitol runners had trained in Laredo, Graham said, "[Tim] Montgomery did. He did [in] a lot of places."

Graham is tired of the questions. He wonders aloud how he morphed from hero -- the good guy who blew the BALCO whistle -- to someone who must defend himself against a flurry of allegations. He brings up revenge. He says haters have been out to get him ever since he turned in the syringe.

He talks about the drug testers who religiously hunt down his team, which has dwindled in numbers. He mentions the watchful eye that follows his every move and the harsh words that cause his family pain.

"I mean, just the way that people look at us now," Graham said in August. "You can tell that people just isolate themselves, like they don't want nothing to do with us. It's just life after the syringe. Life before the syringe, everyone wanted to get your knowledge. Everyone was enjoying the sunset.

"But then, after turning in the syringe, it was like I got a truckload of dope sitting in my house. And I'm injecting my athletes. I'm giving my athletes ... all this stuff. Like I said, before the [2004] Olympic Games they came and they blood-test my athletes. They did all kind of tests on them. They went on to the Olympic Games and did their thing. In the middle of the whole BALCO scandal and bullets flying everywhere, my athletes went to the Olympics and performed for their coach. They were like, 'Don't worry, Coach, we're going to perform.' And they went out there and performed to their best."

It soon will be showtime for the coach. And the fight he was itching for is about to be made.

Mike Fish is an investigative reporter for ESPN.com. He can be reached at michaeljfish@gmail.com.

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