A Chicago-area boys basketball coach claims that he is being forced out because of an orchestrated attempted coup on the part of an assistant coach.
As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, Leo High School (Chicago) boys basketball coach Shawn Frison claims he is being pushed out of his position after a physical altercation with his assistant, Fred Cleveland Sr., after a game Saturday. According to Frison, the altercation is all part of a larger, more steady attempt by Cleveland Sr. to take over Frison’s duties; in the aftermath of Frison’s departure, Leo alum Jamal Thompson is serving as interim head coach, with Washington Sr. still in his role as assistant coach.
Cleveland Sr.’s son, Fred Cleveland Jr., is Leo’s unquestioned star. Their best player, the North Carolina A&T commit was the reason that both Cleveland’s joined the Washington program.
Now they’re running the program after what Frison described as a steady campaign to undermine him since the season began.
“Outside after the game we get into a verbal altercation,” Frison told the Sun-Times. “He’s grabbing me, I’m grabbing him, kinda tussling. [The tournament director] comes out and kind of broke it up. I got on the bus and came home. … No punches were thrown, nothing happened. [Cleveland] has a relationship [with the tournament director] so he is Cleveland’s only witness and he is using that to have a coup to throw me out. Fred has been threatening to call the archdiocese and get me fired.
“We lost the first game this season and Fred came in the locker room and said he doesn’t associate with losers. This has been building for awhile. [Cleveland] has spit in my face for not following his coaching advice or his substitution patterns. He’s been threatening to take his son and leave.”
For his part, Cleveland Sr. insisted he didn’t actually want the head coaching position, and that Frison had punched him squarely in the jaw at Saturday’s tournament appearance.
For now, Leo will be a Washington family affair with a nod to Thompson, something that Frison certainly didn’t anticipate when he entered the season with a 63-24 career mark leading the Lions.
“This is the most painful thing that has happened to me in my life,” Frison told the Sun-Times. “I sacrificed for this job. I was making $300,000 and I came back to Leo to help out my school.
“My son is at Leo. He’s a great student. Leo was going to be his stage so he can go to college. That has been taken from me because they want to give this job to Fred.”