Rick Strunk of the NCHSAA speaks out about coach Tom Knotts of Independence

from www.charlotte.com we hear:

The father of a junior varsity football player was yelling and spewing curse words at Independence coach Tom Knotts before the coach confronted him, according to parents who were there.

Knotts, who has been suspended and was not allowed to attend Friday’s conference championship game, was talking to his huddled team after Thursday’s 15-14 loss to Butler. The man, identified as the father of an Independence player, began heckling the coach, witnesses said, and Knotts left the huddle and began arguing with him through a tall chain-link fence.

The coach then “slammed” the fence against the man’s face, according to a police report. Witnesses said Isaac Avant Jr. was bleeding from the nose area.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials have suspended Knotts with pay pending an investigation. He cannot coach or teach, said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools spokesperson Cynthia Robbins.

Rick Strunk, a spokesman for the N.C. High School Athletic Association, said high school players sign a “sportsmanship pledge” and the organization has a code of conduct for coaches.

The code doesn’t specifically address how to handle hecklers, he said, but calls for treating officials with respect and setting an example for young athletes.

Assistant coach Bill Geiler will handle Knotts’ duties until the conclusion of the investigation.