BOYS BASKETBALL

Seton boys hoops coach put on administrative leave

2013-03-13T20:00:00Z 2013-03-14T06:01:09Z Seton boys hoops coach put on administrative leaveMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
March 13, 2013 8:00 pm  • 

The fallout from Saturday's Illinois High School Association's Class 2A championship game continues as a Seton Academy assistant coach claims at least one Harrisburg player used racial slurs during the game, which Harrisburg won 50-44 at Peoria's Carver Arena.

Seton assistant coach Art Kimber said while he did not hear any racial slur, the Seton players did.

"I did not hear them," Kimber said. "I was busy watching other things on the court, but I could see the reaction from our players. It's not about what I heard, but what my players heard.

"They came to us during a timeout and said a player on Harrisburg said, 'Don't touch me, (racial slur)' and 'I'm gonna kick your (butt), (racial slur)."

The IHSA confirmed on Tuesday that it is conducting an investigation and could have a statement Monday. After the game, the organization issued a statement with executive director Marty Hickman saying he was embarrassed by the actions during and after the game.

Hickman said in a statement that he spoke with administrators from both schools at halftime of the game.

“During a meeting at halftime of the 2A championship, myself and IHSA basketball administrator Kurt Gibson expressed our concerns to the schools about what had occurred in the first half, including three technical fouls, a player ejection and a bench warning," Hickman said. "At that time, Seton Academy also expressed concerns over the use of racial slurs. The onus was put on the coaches to provide the necessary leadership to change the tenor of the game. We also made it very clear that if things did not change, we would take the unprecedented step of cancelling the game. The objective of our investigation is to now determine and verify exactly what occurred on the court during the course of the game.”

Seton athletic director Deon Tolliver said coach Brandon Thomas has been placed on administrative leave. Thomas left the floor Saturday and as a result the Sting forfeited its second-place trophy.

Thomas was upset, because a fan was giving his wife a hard time, according to Kimber. The fan was taken out of the arena.

"Brandon had the team leave the floor for safety reasons," Kimber said. "It wasn't about the loss. We lost 10 other games this year and accepted a fourth-place trophy last year.

"He just didn't want to see this thing get any worse."

Thomas could not be reached for comment.

Kimber said Seton parents on Monday drafted a petition in support of Thomas.

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