Coach placed on leave after knocking ref to the ground

January 6, 2016 / Athletic AdministrationBasketballCoaching

A Pennsylvania high school basketball coach has been placed on administrative leave after knocking a referee to the floor during a Tuesday night game.

Some have referred to the contact as a head butt, others called it a chest bump, and the video above doesn’t provide much clarity. Neshaminy High School coach Jerry Devine lost his temper after one of his players was called for charging. He began yelling at one of the officials, earning him a technical foul, before he got into the face of another referee, lunging toward him and knocking him to the ground.

Devine was ejected from the game and the school announced today he was placed on administrative leave.

Here is the statement from the school:

“The administration at Neshaminy School District is conducting a thorough review of an incident at the varsity basketball game Tuesday evening (January 5, 2016) involving coach Jerry Devine and a referee. Appropriate action was taken at the game following that incident, and further measures may follow depending on the outcome of that review.

“As this is a personnel matter, we will not be able to comment on the specifics of any possible disciplinary action until that review process is complete. Mr. Devine has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of that review for both his teaching and coaching positions.

“The athletic program at Neshaminy places the values of fair play and sportsmanlike conduct above all. We expect our coaches and staff to teach and uphold those principles, while acting in a professional manner at all times.”

Many have objected to claims that Devine head-butted the ref, and Devine’s gesture after the fact seems to imply he thought the ref over-sold the contact. That point, however, is moot. Coaches should never have any sort of physical contact with officials in situations like this.

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