A middle school basketball game in Kentucky ended last week with a coach pulling his team off the court followed by an ugly brawl involving parents and the referee kicking the coach’s father in the head. And now the coach has resigned following a suspension.
According to the NBC affiliate in Lexington via Lex18.com, the incident began when the referee called a technical foul on the coach, Bobby Varney II, at Belfry Middle School toward the end of the second quarter. In response, the coach took his team to the locker room.
A parent then came from the stands and ran across the court to talk to the referee. The parent, Bobby Varney Sr., is the father of the coach and the volunteer assistant coach for Belfry. Varney Sr. is the Pike County Magistrate.
As more people came on the court, a parent then pushed the referee. From there, punches were thrown. The coach ran back on to the court and parents and staff joined the fray.
As Varney Sr. was being led off the floor, he was kicked by the referee.
“It is a very unfortunate incident and I can assure you our utmost concern is the safety of our kids. We regret that this happen, but it did the adults were obviously out of control and as a result there are gonna be some changes and sanctions,”Assistant Superintendent of Pike County schools Fred Bowling told LEX18.com.
Varney II was suspended from coaching after the incident but remained a teacher. The district has also banned seven people from taking part in district sporting events, including the two referees. That group included the volunteer assistant coach, Tommy Varney. One player also will face discipline from the school principal.
The elder Varney is not among those banned.
“There was some pushing and shoving between the (Belfry) coach and one of the referees, then somebody swung at somebody and some people fell in the floor and somebody kicked somebody and then here came some people out of the stands,” school board attorney Neil Smith told the Lexington Herald Leader. “Before you knew it, there were eight adults that had become involved in punching and kicking, throwing punches, kicking, very inappropriate behavior. It went on for two or three minutes.”
“We reviewed the videotape the very next morning,” Smith said. “This is the perfect seminar video for what not to do in situations like this. We had adults make very, very poor decisions, display no restraint. It led to consequences.”
Smith said the school superintendent was “appalled” by what the video showed.