Game postponed amid Richmond Heights coaching controversy

BY foxsports • February 8, 2011

By Zac Jackson
FOX Sports Ohio
February 8, 2011

Both basketball and a resolution will have to wait in the case of a suburban Cleveland high school coach who's been accused of harassing and using inappropriate language towards his players, who say they won't play for him again.

Richmond Heights High School's boys basketball team sports a 15-0 record, is ranked sixth in the state in the latest Div. IV Associated Press poll and was scheduled to host a game Tuesday night vs. Independence. But that game has been postponed after a group of parents presented a letter to Superintendent Dr. Linda Hardwick outlining a series of charges against coach Jason Popp and the players said they would refuse to play unless Popp was removed from his job.

Hardwick and other school officials met with parents to hear their concerns Tuesday. Both sides are scheduled to meet again Wednesday in a meeting that will include Popp, who will be given a chance to present his side of the story.

Reached Tuesday evening, Hardwick promised to offer a further update when one is available. She said she wants to hear the full story from both sides and reach a fair resolution.

The letter, which was obtained by several local media outlets Tuesday, alleges Popp used racial slurs and profane language and made inappropriate comments on and off the floor to his players. It calls for his "instantaneous removal" as head coach.

Popp, who's spent 16 years working in the district, has been the head basketball coach since 2007 and is also the head of the Richmond Heights teacher's union. He could not be reached for comment.

Seven players and several adults attended a special school board meeting Monday night to raise their concerns. The meeting had been called to handle another matter, and the school board told those attending they were free to attend a regular session scheduled for next week.

The game that was postponed Tuesday has been rescheduled for Friday.

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