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Virginia high school girls basketball coach Tom Rife is under investigation for his antics during a playoff loss last week. The incident occurred during a stoppage of play in the final seconds and resulted in an ugly scene.
Rife, who once coached both boys and girls basketball at Richlands High School in Cedar Brook, Virginia, also previously served as the school’s athletic director. He returned to the girls basketball program this season after acting head coach Aaron Lowe was suddenly dismissed in August.
During his first year back with the high school basketball team, Rife led the Lady Blue Tornadoes to a 22-2 record. It was the program’s best regular season finish since 2013.
However, despite the strong run, Richlands’ season came to a close with a three-point loss in the Region 2D girls basketball tournament on Thursday. And it ended with fireworks!
Virginia high school basketball coach Tom Rife is being investigated for his role.
With eight seconds remaining in the game, Rife called a timeout. As his team gathered near the bench, he turned around, climbed up and over a chair into the stands, and went after a male spectator in the front row.
Rife grabbed him by the shirt and proceeded to lay into him. The two parties were eventually separated, but Rife continued to go after the man until he was eventually restrained.
As a result of the tirade, Rife is under investigation by the Tazewell County Board of Education. It will be conducted by Superintendent Dr. Chris Stacy, Deputy Superintendent Diedra Hill, Richlands High School Principal Rickie Vencill and Richlands Athletic Director Frank Daugherty.
We are aware of the incident at the RHS basketball game and while we do not condone any misconduct from our coaches or spectators at this time we are still investigating the actions of all parties involved.— Tazewell County Board of Education statement
Further details are unclear at this time. The reason for Rife’s attack is unknown, as is whether the spectator instigated the incident.