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Official Who Shoved HS Coach Suspended for Season

Paul Steinbach

The Michigan High School Athletic Association announced Monday that the official who pushed Muskegon's head coach during an exchange Friday night has been suspended for the rest of the season.

As reported by MLive, the incident occurred in the final moments of a tight game between Muskegon and Zeeland East High School at Muskegon's Redmond-Potter Gymnasium. What looked to be a verbal exchange between Muskegon head coach Keith Guy and game official William Ripple resulted in the official putting both hands on Guy’s chest and appearing to push the coach away before Ripple headed toward the scorer’s table.

The incident — which is under investigation by the MHSAA, the OK Conference and the Muskegon Police Department — was caught on camera, and Guy appeared shaken and emotional during a postgame interview with media. Zeeland East won the game 59-52 to finish the regular season undefeated.

District tournament play began Monday for girls' basketball and Tuesday for boys. The season concludes with the girls' and boys' state finals April 9-10 at Michigan State University's Breslin Center.

The suspension comes at a time of officiating shortages in Michigan.

MHSAA spokesperson Geoff Kimmerly told MLive in February that registration for winter sports officials is down 25 to 30 percent across the board from a year ago, and that includes a 25 percent drop in basketball.

“It is always a concern because there are so many games with the girls' and boys' seasons playing concurrently,” Kimmerly said. “It is a concern even in non-COVID years, and we expect it to be more of a concern over these next two months.

“I’m sure a lot of it is COVID related. Our older officials are at risk. That certainly has something to do with that. Not all of the reasons are COVID-related. It is normal where you have officials do it one year and not the next. But COVID is certainly a contributing factor to that.”

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