Sylmar High basketball Coach Billy Reed has been suspended for the final two games of the season because of alleged physical abuse of an official after a loss on Jan. 14.
Reed, 27, was suspended with pay Monday evening by Sylmar Principal Ernest Scarcelli. The City Section's Interscholastic Athletic Committee recommended the suspension after Reed allegedly bumped into Stuart Mintz, an official who worked the 45-43 loss at Verdugo Hills.
"This whole episode is one of the most bizarre things I've ever dealt with," said Hal Harkness, director of the City Section. "I've never seen a case where descriptions of what happened are so contrary.
"There's such a great discrepancy in the versions of the players, the officials, the coaches and others at the game," Harkness said, "And without any videotape or other evidence to confirm any of the reports, we chose to recommend the suspension." He added that Reed, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday, is appealing the decision.
According to Mintz's report to the IAC, Reed intentionally bumped into him after Reed was ejected for committing his third technical foul. The incident began when a Sylmar player was fouled with approximately 1:20 remaining in the game. After reporting the foul to the scorer's table, Mintz assessed the Sylmar bench with a technical for delay-of-game (in high school basketball, bench technicals are assessed to the coach), claiming the player was conferring with Reed on the sideline instead of waiting at the free-throw line.
"The real confusion started over who should have been shooting the free throws," said Angelo Porco, an assistant principal at Sylmar who witnessed the incident. "We think the referee picked the wrong player to shoot the foul shot."
After Sylmar was charged with the first technical, Reed--a first-year coach--protested, claiming Sylmar had sent the correct player to the line. Reed then was hit with two successive technicals which, in accordance with City rules, resulted in his ejection and an automatic end to the game. The loss kept Sylmar (then 0-8) winless.
The suspension included Tuesday's 67-53 loss to North Hollywood as well as today's season finale against Van Nuys. Porco, who will coach Sylmar (2-13 overall and 2-7 in the East Valley League) for the remainder of the season, said Reed will not be subject to any punitive measures by the school.
Harkness said the City's Senior High Schools Division is conducting further investigations.