In the past two years, law enforcement has been needed to quell two skirmishes during basketball games between Harker Heights and Copperas Cove in the latter school’s gym.
One of the Killeen Independent School District investigative reports, which KISD released to the Herald after a lengthy open-records request struggle, sheds light on an incident that involved a Harker Heights coach in 2021.
According to the findings of an investigation conducted by Killeen ISD, the incident occurred toward the end of a junior varsity basketball game between the Knights and Bulldawgs in Copperas Cove on Feb. 9, 2021.
Testimony from several witnesses throughout the course of the investigation paint a picture of the incident beginning with a “questionable call” leading to a Harker Heights player receiving a technical foul and the JV coach, who resigned on May 28, 2021, voicing his displeasure and ultimately being ejected from the game.
While gathering his belongings from the bench, testimony indicated that Copperas Cove fans engaged in a verbal spat with the coach. A Harker Heights player attempted to forcibly remove the coach from the gym into the foyer area, but the coach continuously attempted to get out of the player’s grip, according to the investigation.
Upon attempting to re-enter the gym, the coach was confronted by two deputies from the Coryell County Sheriff’s Office, who were providing security at the game.
A quarrel with the deputies resulted in them taking action to get the coach on the ground, according to the report. Several people attempted to calm the coach down, including one of the deputies who would not let him up until he was calm, the report showed.
Reports indicated that while the coach was on the ground, the Copperas Cove ISD athletic director firmly asked the coach to leave the school’s property.
Once free, the coach reportedly held his hands behind his back pleading with deputies to handcuff him and arrest him. The deputies refused and told him he was free to leave the premises but also said if he refused, he would be arrested. Testimony in the report indicated that the coach feared there would be repercussions if he got up but eventually calmed down and got up and left on his own accord.
According to the report, it was determined by investigators that the coach believed the actions by the deputies were aggressive and racially driven. The coach told a lieutenant with the Sheriff’s Department that deputies acted “without provocation.”
Killeen ISD investigators determined, however, that the coach falsified his statements of the events to the lieutenant.
“There is video evidence as well as corroborated witness statements that (he) failed to perform his duties in a professional manner,” according to the KISD report, which was put together by Charles “Chuck” Kelley, the district’s director of investigations.
Killeen ISD officials said the Coryell County sheriff wanted to charge the coach with two criminal charges but decided against it.
As a result of the investigation, which determined that the coach violated multiple district standards of behavior, he was placed on administrative leave by KISD. He remained on administrative leave until his resignation on May 28, 2021. The coach tendered his resignation with the district a month prior on April 28, 2021.
Tensions between the schools reached a head again in January, when a physical altercation between players ensued towards the end of a game Heights led handily. January’s altercation resulted in a double forfeiture of the contest and multiple players on both teams receiving season-ending suspensions.