Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) boys soccer coach John Walsh has been suspended for the first two games of next season following an altercation between two student soccer players and a sports official.
The two students, whom the school is not naming, have been suspended from playing sports after shoving and verbally assaulting the official during the final playoff game of the season against Norwell on Tuesday, Nov. 5. The students face unspecified disciplinary action from the school as well.
According to MVRHS athletic director Mark McCarthy, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) issued a decision on suspending Walsh, but did not describe the exact reason why he was being suspended.
“The decision was issued almost immediately after the incident with the two athletes, so it is most definitely associated,” McCarthy said during a phone call. “The coach is responsible for their team. They must keep control of the players and those on the sidelines.”
In a phone call, Assistant Principal Jeremy Light read a statement from the school to The Times regarding the MIAA decision. “We received the MIAA decision; it seems fair and appropriate,” Light said.
Light said the school values civility and proper behavior, both on and off the field.
McCarthy said the school is working with the MIAA to address any further issues surrounding sportsmanship for both varsity and junior varsity teams.
“We are going to fully engage with the MIAA and their stipulations, and make all necessary improvements to the soccer team and every other team,” McCarthy said.
According to McCarthy, good sportsmanship and field etiquette are values that the school “works at constantly,” and he said the athletics program has always held high standards for behavior. “We as a community will try to increase sportsmanship through all sports,” McCarthy said.
Light said the school will not be appealing the MIAA decision, and Walsh will be able to coach throughout the preseason.