Virginia school suspends baseball coaches accused of creating 'toxic environment'

Virginia school suspends baseball coaches accused of creating 'toxic environment'

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Virginia school suspends baseball coaches accused of creating 'toxic environment'

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St. Clair Jones

St. Clair Jones

A pair of Virginia high school baseball coaches have been suspended for what their school dubbed “concerns brought forward regarding practices and player discipline.” Although, in a twist, the two will be allowed to attend tryouts and continue coaching early in the 2017 season.

Virginia Beach’s Floyd E. Kellam High School suspended head baseball coach St. Clair Jones and assistant Ryan Kurpiel amid concerns about their disciplinary practices, according to reports.

“The decision was made as a result of an investigation into the program related to concerns brought forward regarding practices and player discipline,” Kellam director of communications Lauren Nolasco said in a statement to The Virginian Pilot. “This was communicated to the families in the school’s baseball program last month.”

The school named Mike Lloyd as interim baseball coach until March 31, 2017, when Jones and Kurpiel can return to the bench, according to Virginia’s News 3. The suspension amounts to a four-game ban. In the meantime, Jones and Kurpiel are allowed to attend tryouts, per reports.

“I was absolutely dumbfounded. Imagine if an English teacher had done this,” said a parent speaking to News 3 on the condition of anonymity. “These men have mentally, physically and emotionally abused young men for a long time and they got away with it. It’s a toxic environment how they treat these young men.”

According to the unnamed parent, his son was “excessively cursed at” by Jones and “told to get into a push-up position and crawl for more than an hour” for not having shaved on a game day. Here is a photo provided to News 3 of the boy’s swollen hands after the alleged discipline:

A Kellam baseball player's hands were swollen after his coach's alleged disciplinary measure. (News 3)

A Kellam baseball player’s hands were swollen after his coach’s alleged disciplinary measure. (News 3)

Seven seniors left Kellam’s baseball team during the 2015 season, and at least one student transferred schools because of a baseball coach, according to parent testimonials to News 3.

Jones was paralyzed from the waist down in a January 2008 car accident, according to the Pilot.

“He could be a lifelong inspiration,” an anonymous parent told News 3, “but he chooses to absolutely bully and berate these young men.”

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