Monday, September 27, 2010
Coach banned for mooning fans
By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- Boys and Girls High School volunteer assistant football coach William Miller has been sacked after he exposed his rear end to opposing fans following an altercation with school safety officers and referees during a game Saturday, according to school officials.
New York City Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg said Miller was terminated by Boys and Girls principal Bernard Gassaway after the incident.
"He's a volunteer, he's not a DOE [Department of Education] employee," Feinberg said. "So the principal can ban him from being an assistant coach."
Gassaway would not comment Monday morning but a school official confirmed that Miller was no longer permitted to coach the team.
The altercation occurred following a controversial call late in the fourth quarter of Boys and Girls' 16-6 loss to Campus Magnet in a Public Schools Athletic League game in Queens.
As of now, it is unknown what sanctions Boys and Girls head coach Barry O'Connor -- who was also involved in the altercation -- and his program will face.
PSAL commissioner Alan Arbuse, who was at the game, said Sunday afternoon "an investigation is under way," but declined to comment any further.
O'Connor could not be reached via cell phone.
O'Connor and Boys and Girls assistant coach Clive Harding engaged in a shoving match with school safety officers after officials ejected both coaches from the game. Harding and O'Connor became enraged with referees over a call late in the fourth quarter.
Tensions eventually escalated and, according to a report in the New York Daily News, Miller, a first-year Boys and Girls assistant, approached Campus Magnet fans behind a fence on the side of the field, dropped his shorts and revealed his rear end.
"I feel really sorry for their coaching staff," Campus Magnet head coach Eric Barnett said Sunday. "I want to call Barry and give him support. But I don't know if it's my place to do so, so I haven't yet."
After Campus Magnet scored a touchdown to go ahead 14-6 in the fourth quarter, it elected to attempt a two-point conversion.
On the ensuing try, Campus Magnet running back Raeshawn Lewis was apparently stripped of the ball as he crossed the goal line.
Initially, the refs didn't make a call. But after convening, they elected to award Campus Magnet two points, ruling that Lewis had indeed crossed the plane with possession.
That caused the Boys and Girls coaches to charge the field and begin demonstratively arguing the call. According to reports, coaches began shouting profanities at the officials.
A few minutes later, five school safety officers rushed the field and pulled out their handcuffs, further adding to the coaches' rage.
"They wouldn't leave the field," Barnett said. "So the police had to intervene."
The refs eventually ejected O'Connor and Harding and called the game, awarding Campus Magnet the victory with 3:49 remaining.
According to reports, fans from Campus Magnet continued to heckle O'Connor and Harding.
That prompted Miller to lose his cool and engage in a shouting match with the spectators. Eventually, he pulled down his shorts and mooned the fans.
"He was trying to degrade them," Barnett said, "but he ended up degrading himself and his program. I've been involved in situations with controversial calls before and I've never reacted like that."
Neither team's players were involved in the scrum.
In the PSAL, only head coaches are paid by the schools. The volunteer coaches work for no pay, but most go through background checks, including fingerprinting.
"There's no way you can run a program with just one coach," Barnett said.
Mike Mazzeo is a contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley contributed to this report.
More from ESPNNewYork.com »