Parents seek investigation into coachless game


When athletic officials told parents of middle school boys who lost a basketball game due to an ejected coach that their complaints would “open a can of worms,” the parents pulled out a metaphorical can opener.

They met with the superintendent of the Window Rock School District that week and followed up with a meeting on Tuesday with Council Delegate Jonathan Hale (Oak Springs/St. Michaels).

“It opens up not a can of worms but a can of resolve, I think,” Hale said.

After Tsehootsooi Middle School varsity boys’ basketball head coach Elmer Williams got ejected from a Jan. 31 basketball game against Tuba City Junior High for questioning a call against one of his players, a parent stepped in to coach. The Tsehootsooi boys won the game off a three-point shot at the buzzer, according to photos sent by parents, but officials from the Northern Arizona Interscholastic Conference ruled the game a forfeit due to no official school representative being on hand to direct the team.

Parents said they planned to attend a Window Rock Unified School District Governing Board meeting on Wednesday, but they wanted Hale’s help as a kind of backup plan. Hale explained how he intended to address the situation going forward.

“I need written documentation regarding this, so that I can send a letter to … Mr. Barry Williams, superintendent of schools at Apache County, and then it would have to go to the AIA office down in Phoenix … requesting for an investigation with regards to what had happened,” Hale said. In order to do that, he said he needed the parents to document the incident to the best of their ability.

He suggested writing a letter, having parents sign the letter, and providing documentation like photos or video. Parents on hand said they had a video but that an NAIC or AIA official said the video would not be admitted into an investigation, because it didn’t include the entire game without interruption. Hale speculated that that information could be the opinion of the official that said it.

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Christopher S. Pineo

Reporter Christopher S. Pineo's beats include education, construction, the executive branch, and pop culture. He also administers the Navajo Times Facebook page. In the diverse neighborhoods of Boston, Pineo worked, earned a master’s in journalism, and gained 10 years of newspaper experience. He can be reached at