Welch Claims Assault by Canyon Booster : High schools: Father of a Cowboy football player, who reportedly was blamed by his coach for loss, says he only protected himself.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Harry Welch, Canyon High football coach, has filed a report claiming he was assaulted by a member of the school's booster club. Welch, who named Cowboy booster club treasurer Tim McKeon, did not file charges.

The incident occurred Friday at approximately 10:30 p.m. near the Canyon High coaches' office, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff deputy's report. McKeon confronted Welch after he was told the coach blamed Canyon's 25-14 loss to Quartz Hill that night on his son, Jared.

Welch, who reported the incident Monday, said McKeon twice grabbed him around the throat and struck him several times until Canyon assistant coaches intervened.

In the report, Welch described McKeon as angry and hostile. McKeon, president of the booster club the previous five years, said he observed Welch speaking "loud and acrimoniously" with a parent on the field and decided to confront the coach after several players and assistant coaches told him Welch "unloaded his wrath on Jared" in the locker room.

McKeon admitted grabbing Welch by the throat but said he did so to protect himself from any aggression.

"He took a step toward me in a menacing way," McKeon said. "I thought he was going to whack me."

Welch complained of pain in his face, head, neck and back, and the report noted slight bruising around his right eye.

But McKeon said he did not strike the coach.

"I poked him in the chest with my forefinger," McKeon said. "He either said, 'That's a damn lie' or 'You're a damn liar' when I asked him about Jared. At no time did I strike Harry on or about his face, body or anywhere. I didn't hit him."

Said Welch, when asked if he would file charges: "I really can't comment on anything regarding that at this time."

A witness, Pomona-Pitzer assistant football coach Jim Barker, said he couldn't believe what he observed. He described McKeon as "out of control" and Welch as surprisingly cool.

"The guy's got (Welch) around the neck, pushing him up to a fence," Barker said.

"(Welch) held his hands up in the air the whole time. I didn't know what the guy was going to do. I started out there, but then a whole bunch of coaches came running out and broke it up."

McKeon, who was unaware Tuesday that Welch had filed the report, said he later shook hands with Welch and said he was sorry. "I'm still sorry," he said.

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