East Chicago Central basketball coach Pete Trgovich resigned after blasting the officiating and the Indiana High School Athletic Association following his team’s 61-59 Class 4A regional semifinal loss to Warsaw on Saturday at Michigan City.
Trgovich, an Indiana All-Star in 1971 as a standout on East Chicago Washington’s state championship team, claimed a racial bias on the officiating crew calling Saturday’s game. There was a foul called on East Chicago Central with 2.1 seconds left and the game tied. Warsaw’s Kyle Mangas, who scored 47 points, made two free throws to provide the winning points.
I've got slow mo video from the other side of that! Wasn't shooting that game, I covered Adams-Merrillville. pic.twitter.com/tcml3dvrnr— Michael Caterina (@MLCaterina) March 11, 2017
In postgame comments to the Times of Northwest Indiana, Trgovich said: “The call at the end of the game, that is what’s wrong with the IHSAA. No one evaluates those officials, and they come out and give us that kind of referee. … let the kids determine the outcome of the game. What is the consequences for the officials? Nothing. They should be embarrassed. The IHSAA should be embarrassed. For two years, I’ve come here and they haven’t had one black official. That is wrong. … (the officials) were cheating us. I feel the IHSAA should know what is going on with these officials.”
Trgovich went on to say that “it was so blatant who the officials wanted to win.” He resigned on Tuesday, completing his second two-year tenure at the school. Trgovich, who played at UCLA under John Wooden, coached the E’Twaun Moore-led Cardinals to the Class 4A state championship.
The IHSAA had scheduled a meeting with East Chicago Central administrators for next week prior to Trgovich’s resignation. The IHSAA released the following statement on Wednesday:
“Recently, the School City of East Chicago accepted the resignation of Head Boys’ Basketball Coach Pete Trgovich upon the completion of their season. IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox and Superintendent Paige McNulty have been in discussions surrounding the unfortunate remarks attributed to the former coach. The IHSAA and the administration of East Chicago will meet in April to chart a course that will enhance the student athlete and fan experience at East Chicago and insure that education-based athletic in the East Chicago school community assumes its proper position and perspective.”
Merrillville defeated Warsaw, 50-46, in the regional championship to advance to the Class 4A semistate on Saturday against Fort Wayne North Side.
Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.