Mass. hoops player assaults rival coach, cites coach’s orders

Ben Rohrbach
Prep Rally

A Western Massachusetts high school basketball player twice trampled a rival coach during a game on the orders of his assistant coach, the player and a handful of his teammates told on Thursday.

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Amherst (Mass.) Regional High assistant Eric Wheeler told junior guard Tyrell Jackson to knock South Hadley (Mass.) High head coach Jeff Guiel to the ground, so he did ... twice, Jackson and five of his Hurricanes teammates told the media outlet.

At least three Amherst players also said head coach Jim Matuszko inserted Jackson into the game with the knowledge of what was about to unfold.

"(Matuszko) definitely knew that I was going to do it when I went in," Jackson told's Jay King. "As I went in, Wheeler said, 'Take him out,' and Matuszko heard (but didn't say anything)."

However, Matuszko, who has coached the Hurricanes for the past 15 seasons, denied his player's claim. "We didn't see it," he said. "We don't have anything on our tape, even, that shows it. If one of our coaches did say that, I certainly didn't know about it. The coach and I will discuss the matter. It's nothing that we will condone. We are investigating it."

Both Wheeler and Amherst AD Rich Ferro denied comment pending an investigation.

So, why would the Amherst coaching staff want a player to "take out" an opposing coach? They were annoyed by Guiel, who apparently barked orders to his South Hadley players from outside the home coach's box, the Hurricanes players explained.

And how did Jackson manage to bowl Guiel over twice in the second quarter? Referees didn't blow a whistle on either occasion, but players and coaches from both teams exchanged their fair share of "angry words," according to the report.

Jackson as well as teammates Sam Hird and Tom Cook, who reportedly tweeted "crude remarks" in the aftermath, have been suspended following the incident.

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