A Southern California HS basketball program has been suspended indefinitely after physical threats were made against its coach and his wife, forcing him to resign from his long-tenured position, according to Yahoo News.
Larry Hirst, the longtime basketball coach at Newport Harbor HS in Newport Beach, CA decided to leave his position after he and his wife received threats both at school and at the couple's Huntington Beach home, as reported by Los Angeles ABC affiliate KABC.
Additionally, because the source of the threats has yet to be revealed, school officials have decided to suspend basketball operations at the HS indefinitely. Although the basketball season recently ended, this decision deprives 30-40 players of the opportunity to engage in school organized off-season practices and training sessions.
"He was very fearful for himself and for the safety of his family and ended up quitting as a result," said Newport Harbor principal Michael Vossen.
"Any individuals found to have participated in this they'll be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law both from the criminal aspect as well as from the school side," the principal said.
Hirst had previously taken a leave of absence in January and returned briefly in March before he and his wife received the threats at issue.
The investigation as to who made the threats is ongoing. However, debate has arisen concerning the school's decision to suspend basketball at Newport Harbor.
In fact, a student, Donovan Acadine had the following to say: "[T]he whole team is suspended, that's just unfair and whoever threatened our coach needs to come out and give a public, official apology not only to the coach but all of our student body."
The situation at Newport Harbor HS is an unfortunate one. First, a longtime staple in the community was forced to resigned from his post as the HS's basketball coach. And second, the kids are unable to receive basketball training as a result, putting them behind the eight-ball as other school's practice and prepare for next year's season.
I realize that the administration's decision was a tough one. But it was one that it had to make if it reasonably believed that its students could be harmed as a result of the threats, which it looks as if it did.
Hopefully, the investigation will bring results soon and business as usual can resume for Newport Harbor High's basketball team as well as the Hirst family.
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