Punching coach a lesson for father, daughter in Michigan City

2014-01-07T18:45:00Z 2014-01-07T22:18:12Z Punching coach a lesson for father, daughter in Michigan CityStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
January 07, 2014 6:45 pm  • 

Jeff Yackus still has no memory of being punched in the face by the father of one of his players on the St. Stanislaus School girls basketball team in Michigan City.

In fact, the 34-year-old now-former coach even today cannot remember being in the hospital emergency room or what transpired over the next 10 hours.

The Michigan City man has no lasting effects, though, and is glad that his attacker received some punishment to send a message against school violence.

"I hope people realize you have to be held accountable for what you do," Yackus said.

Shelley Miller, 39, was sentenced Dec. 18 to one year of work release and one year on probation after pleading guilty to Class D felony criminal recklessness.

Dave Ambers, LaPorte County deputy prosecutor, said Miller once faced up to 20 years in prison but the original Class B felony charge was downgraded over lack of proof about the severity of the victim's injuries.

There were claims that Yackus was knocked unconscous and suffered a concussion.

Ambers said there was not enough medical evidence, though, to substantiate those allegations, but there was no doubt over the defendant's actions.

"He just walked up and cold-cocked that guy," Ambers said.

Yackus was coaching the girl's basketball team at St. Stanislaus when blindsided during practice in March 2012.

Ambers said one of his middle-school age players called her father claiming the coach was picking on her.

Yackus said he remembers Miller walking into the gymnasium and reaching out to shake Miller's hand but didn't see the punch, which landed on his left cheek.

He suffered no broken bones but felt a great deal of pain from deep bruising.

Yackus said the girl and one other player were "bickering" and to regain the team's focus for a tourament game the next day he had the whole team run laps.

Ambers said the girl called her father feeling slighted.

Yackus has not coached since, but claims his schedule changed leaving not enough time to dedicate to the position.

He also said maybe Miller has now learned a thing or two from his punishment.

"Hopefully, it changes the way he looks at things," Yackus said.

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