CHICAGO (CBS) – The head basketball coaches from Simeon and Morgan Park High schools have been suspended because of their behavior at a basketball game last week that ended in a scuffle between the two teams at the handshake line.
Simeon coach Robert Smith and Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin have been suspended for four games — although terms of the suspensions require them to attend the games in a non-coaching capacity.
Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in a statement that coaches “must serve as mentors, instructors and role models for our students both on and off the court or field of competition.”
When a fight broke out in the handshake line after the 53-51 Simeon victory at the Chicago State University gym, the coaches broke it up, but then engaged in a shouting match.
“The children under their charge take their cues from them on what is acceptable behavior and what is not,” Byrd-Bennett said. “Knowing this, coaches must at all times conduct themselves in a professional and sportsmanlike manner.”
Byrd-Bennett said the Jan. 16 incident violated the coaches’ Code of Conduct “through both words and actions.”
After the fight, two of the players who were involved were suspended for one game apiece.
Moments after the post-basketball training scuffle, outside of the gym, 17-year-old Morgan Park student Tyrone Lawson was shot fatally in the back. Police have determined the shooting was an isolated incident, not related to the fight.