Pike County middle school basketball coach resigns after game brawl

Middle school basketball brawl in Pike County

A brawl broke out between coaches, referees, and fans at the Phelps vs. Belfry Middle school basketball game in Phelps on Jan. 7.
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A brawl broke out between coaches, referees, and fans at the Phelps vs. Belfry Middle school basketball game in Phelps on Jan. 7.

A Pike County middle school basketball coach involved in a brawl at a game has resigned in the face of suspension by the school board, and two referees are among seven people banned from district sporting events.

The Pike school board decided on the ban this week, Pike school board attorney Neal Smith said. The ban is until June 30.

The board suspended Belfry Middle School coach Bobby Varney II, who submitted his resignation Wednesday, said his attorney, Kent Varney. Bobby Varney remains a teacher at the middle school.

Kent Varney said he didn’t want to comment further because the brawl, which occurred Jan. 7 at a game between Belfry and Phelps Middle School, is under investigation. He did not say which agency was investigating.

Smith said a videotape showed one referee kicking the coach’s father, Pike County Magistrate Bobby Varney, in the head during the fight. Smith said the videotape showed no wrongdoing by the elder Varney, and he was not banned from athletic events.

No students were involved in the brawl, Smith said.

Smith said the coach’s brother, Tommy Varney, a volunteer assistant coach, also was banned from district athletic events.

Smith said the brawl began when toward the end of the second quarter, Bobby Varney II took his team off the floor because he disagreed with the officiating.

A fan came down on the floor and “engaged in a conversation with the officials,” Smith said.

“There was some pushing and shoving between the (Belfry) coach and one of the referees, then somebody swung at somebody and some people fell in the floor and somebody kicked somebody and then here came some people out of the stands,” Smith said. “Before you knew it, there were eight adults that had become involved in punching and kicking, throwing punches, kicking, very inappropriate behavior. It went on for two or three minutes.”

“We reviewed the videotape the very next morning,” Smith said. “This is the perfect seminar video for what not to do in situations like this. We had adults make very, very poor decisions, display no restraint. It led to consequences.”

Smith said the Pike County superintendent had taken no action against Bobby Varney II’s teaching position, but the brawl would be referred to the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears