Neshaminy basketball coach placed on administrative leave after physical confrontation with referee

MIDDLETOWN TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- A high school basketball coach has been placed on administrative leave after a physical confrontation with a referee, which was caught by cameras Tuesday night.

The incident happened with less than a minute in the game between Neshaminy High School and Pennsbury High School.

Two separate videos provide two angles.

Both show Neshaminy head coach Jerry Devine making physical contact with one of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) officials after an offensive foul call, and the referee falling to the ground.

One video obtained by Action News Wednesday morning courtesy of shows the incident from a relatively close angle.

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New video obtained by Action News Wednesday morning courtesy of shows the incident from a closer angle.

WBCB-AM play-by-play announcer Chris Ermer was there.

"After he stepped out onto the floor, Coach Devine made contact with him," Ermer told Action News. "The official went to the ground, and people went bananas."

Some called it a head butt, others a chest bump.

Action News obtained another video of the game through radio station WBCB 1490 AM.

Devine was ejected from the game after the incident happened.

The referee got up off the floor and finished the final moments of the game.

The Neshaminy School District placed Devine, a coach and longtime special education teacher in the district, on administrative leave.

Dr. Gloria Hancock, Neshaminy's interim superintendent, says she understands the passion that comes with these contests, but that is no excuse for losing your composure.

"I was very disappointed. As teaching professionals, we are held to a higher standard, we're responsible for teaching children how to respond in difficult situations, also teaching our students what it means to be good sportsmen," Hancock said.

The district released the following statement Wednesday morning:

"Mr. Devine has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of that review for both his teaching and coaching positions. The athletic program at Neshaminy places the values of fair play and sportsmanlike conduct above all. We expect our coaches and staff to teach and uphold those principles, while acting in a professional manner at all times."

The PIAA's rules call for an immediate one-game suspension of the coach.

PIAA representatives spoke to the referee, who claims the coach made contact with his chest and side of his face.

They will see what action the Neshaminy School District takes after their investigation.

"If it satisfies us in terms of the action they've taken, we'll move forward," PIAA Associate Executive Director Melissa Mertz told Action News. "If we feel further action needs to be taken, we'll step in."

Middletown Township Police were not called, and no charges have been filed.

Ermer said he has followed Coach Devine through his career, and that this is out of character.

"Coach Devine doesn't have a reputation for this type of behavior," he said. "I don't think he intended to knock the referee to the ground. It wasn't a head butt, but he definitely made contact with the official, which is never acceptable."

Action News did try to reach out to Coach Devine and the referee involved, but neither was home and our phone calls were not returned.

We also reached out to local and county investigators who say as of right now no criminal charges have been filed.

The basketball team returned to the court on Wednesday night without their coach.

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The Neshaminy basketball team returned to the court 24 hours after the incident.


Videos courtesy of WBCB 1490 AM and

A high school basketball coach has been placed on administrative leave after a confrontation with a referee in Middletown Township, Bucks County Tuesday night.


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