Asst. basketball coach fired for telling player to strike coach - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Asst. basketball coach fired for telling player to strike coach

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With about 90 seconds left before half-time, Amherst Regional officials said one of their players was instructed by an assistant coach to run into the opposing head coach on purpose.

The incident happened on Monday night in a game between Amherst Regional High School and South Hadley High School.

Following the game, the Amherst school district conducted a two-day investigation that focused on assistant coach Eric Wheeler.

"He did some subbing for the district on occasion, but he was not a routine, by contract, employee," said Maria Geryk, Amherst-Pelham Regional superintendent. "At this point, he will not be working in any capacity."

Wheeler was only in his second year at the school and, prior to the incident, officials said there were no red flags. But, Geryk stated she was not surprised by the alleged actions.

"Whenever you are working in a profession where there are people working with people, there are times when people's judgement are not the best," said Geryk.

"I am saddened, disappointed, but I cannot say this was in the unheard of category," said Mark Jackson, Amherst Regional High School principal.

Amherst Regional's investigation was spearheaded by the school's athletic director. At its conclusion, officials believed their head coach, Jim Matuszko, was not involved.

In the last 24 hours, Geryk has reached out reached out to the South Hadley school district with an apology letter. From this point forward, she and Jackson said everyone needs to learn from the incident.

"Now, it is really about the teachable moment for students and coaches," Geryk stated. "We need to have conversations on how do we expect people to represent our schools when they are out."

"How is it that we can leverage this to help a kid's capacity to say this is not feeling terrific right now, can we call a time out and back-up?" said Jackson. 

CBS 3 reached out to South Hadley head coach Jeff Guiel, but he did not wish to comment.

The Amherst Regional school system would not release student information, but CBS 3 media partner Mass Live and The Republican reported that Amherst junior Tyrell Jackson has been suspended indefinitely for his actions.

Two of his teammates were suspended one game each for bragging about the incident on Twitter.

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