High School Sports

Parent alleges coach struck two girls basketball players in handshake line

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Wichita’s Southeast and West high schools are investigating allegations that the Southeast girls basketball coach struck two West players in the stomach following West’s 59-47 victory on Tuesday night at Southeast.

Kevin Hays, the father of one of the West players, filed a police report Wednesday. He told The Eagle on Thursday that Southeast coach LaToya Randle was aggressively bumping fists with West players in the line and missed twice, leading to a “disguised jab” to the mid-sections of two players. Hays said he filed complaints with the Kansas State High School Activities Association and with the Wichita school district.

In the police report, West senior Mia Hays is listed as a battery victim. A second player was not listed.

“Frankly, it was a little bit alarming,” Kevin Hays said. “The main problem is what kind of message does this send to the girls, as far as sportsmanship goes?”

When reached by The Eagle on Thursday, Randle said “there are two sides to every story,” but declined to comment further. An attorney representing Randle contacted The Eagle later Thursday.

“We deny the allegations and there is no evidence to support those allegations,” said Christopher O’Hara, an attorney with O’Hara & O’Hara. “This comes from people who have an agenda.”

City League athletic director J. Means wrote in an e-mail to The Eagle that “both schools are doing a complete investigation of the allegations” and added that a determination had not been reached as of Thursday afternoon.

Susan Arensman, a district spokeswoman, said the investigation might not wrap up soon.

“It’s a lot of he-said, she-said right now,” Arensman said. “There were a lot of people who were there, so we’re investigating what witnesses said did and did not happen and then we’ll go from there.”

Means and Arensman said Randle has not been suspended for Friday’s game against Kapaun Mount Carmel and a decision will not be made until the conclusion of the investigation.

Fran Martin, an assistant executive director at the KSHSAA, acknowledged she was aware of the incident and referred questions to Means. Brian Johnson, West’s coach, said he didn’t see the incident and didn’t want to comment.

Randle, 37, coached Southeast from 2007-11 before returning for the 2014-15 season. She is 97-129 in seven seasons.

Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker and Bryan Horwath of The Eagle

Taylor Eldridge: 316-268-6270, @vkeldridge