Alder football gathering becomes brawl
By Jane Beathard
A fight at the home of Jonathan Alder Head Football Coach Steve Coate during a team leadership retreat in July, resulted in injuries to a former player.
The fight involved the former player, now 19, and a current player, according to published reports.
The incident remains under investigation by the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
A sheriff’s report said the incident occurred about noon on Saturday, July 28, during an annual senior campout/retreat at Coate’s home, located at 23210 state Route 31, Marysville. It was reported to the sheriff about 10:16 p.m. that day.
In a prepared statement, JA Superintendent Gary Chapman said Coate reported the incident. JA Athletic Director Tom Vargo also learned of the fight that day.
“The administration is also reviewing this matter carefully as it is the goal of the district to ensure the safety of all students,” Chapman wrote. “Although these types of team building activities are intended to be positive experiences for our student-athletes, unforeseeable events do occur. Coach Coate is cooperating with the sheriff’s department and the district administration.”
The sheriff’s report said the victim suffered “apparent broken bones,” but provides few additional details since the investigation is still pending.
However, local newspaper accounts said no weapons were involved. Union County Sheriff Jamie Patton was unsure if drugs or alcohol were involved since there was a time lag between the incident and Coate’s call to authorities.
Chapman refrained from additional comment, saying the district must adhere strictly to state and federal laws protecting student records and information from public disclosure.