Remember the coach of the 8 yr olds who beat up the other coach, went to grab a bat and threw his own wife down? Read about what happened to him…


6 Responses to “Remember the coach of the 8 yr olds who beat up the other coach, went to grab a bat and threw his own wife down? Read about what happened to him…”

  1. September 2, 2009 at 4:58 PM

    A Slidell city judge and prosecutor evoked the ideals of “the great American tradition of baseball,” sportsmanship, honor and fair play, then threw the book at the former coach who violated them last year at a north shore game for 8-year-olds.

    Jason Chighizola, 34, who coached the Yankees in the Slidell Bantam Baseball Association, was sentenced to 30 days in jail Tuesday for beating up a rival coach at the conclusion of a game on May 19, 2008.

    “Coach, you have violated that right, the right to be called a coach,” Slidell City Court Judge James “Jim” Lamz said.

    Slidell City Prosecutor Patrick Berrigan said Chighizola’s actions would have caused the SBBA’s founding fathers to hide in shame.

    “They thought baseball was intrinsic to the character we have as Americans,” Berrigan said.

    The Yankees had lost the game, moving their archrival Red Sox into first place for the close of the season.

    In an attempt at sportsmanship, the players and coaches lined up to shake each other’s hands. But Chighizola walked away before reaching Robert Johnson, 35, an assistant coach for the Red Sox with whom Chighizola shared bad blood.

    Johnson allegedly made a snide comment, and then Chighizola bolted toward him, punching Johnson at least once in the face in the post-game altercation, according to most of the witnesses who testified at the August trial.

    The infield flush with parents and coaches, Chighizola ran back toward the Yankees dugout, grabbed a bat and started swinging. His wife jumped on his back, and he threw her off. No one was hit by the bat.

    In a video of the on-field brawl recorded by the mother of a Red Sox player, you hear children crying and Johnson’s son screaming “Daddy! Daddy!” on his father’s bloody return to the dugout.

    On Tuesday morning, Lamz also fined Chighizola $500, ordered him to pay for Johnson’s medical expenses and gave him two years’ probation upon his release from jail and 30 days of community service with the Keep Slidell Beautiful program.

    During his probation, Chighizola cannot attend or participate in any youth sports events and must complete anger management classes and see a psychologist, the judge ordered.

    The misdemeanor charge, battery of a school or recreation athletic contest official, is punishable by a minimum of five days of community service and a maximum of six months in jail.

    Johnson, who did not attend the sentencing hearing, also was charged with battery of a school or recreation athletic contest official, but Berrigan said that charge would be dropped as the case against Chighizola has proven Johnson was simply the victim.

    Hinting at another dishonorable baseball practice, Lamz said he suspected — “due to your huge muscular appearance” — Chighizola likely was on steroids or other performance enhancing drugs. He ordered Chighizola regularly tested for substance abuse.

    Before the judge imposed the sentence, the prosecutor spoke about the trust Chighizola had violated.

    “How can someone so callously abandon the trust that we the parents entrust in him to conduct baseball?” Berrigan told Lamz.

    He said “the league enjoys a great reputation, locally, in the state and outside the state,” and that several professional ballplayers got their start in the SBBA, exhibiting in the majors not just the skills but also the etiquette they had learned on Slidell fields.

    Arguing against jail time, Chighizola’s private defense attorney, Tammy Nick, said her client had coached Slidell Bantam Baseball for four years, all without pay, and that he was “a role model to the community.”

    Chighizola stood up and said one sentence: “I apologize to the court and the community for my actions that I did that day at the baseball game.”

    The judge said he had many sleepless nights wrestling with the sentence, but that it came down to the victimized children, their parents and Slidell’s reputation.

    “Your victims were not only Johnson, but also the children who called you coach. These children looked up to you, they respected you, and you victimized them,” Lamz said. “You also victimized the parents who entrusted you with their children, and you’ve brought disgrace and shame on this community.”

    He said Chighizola took “what is a family and wholesome sport” and turned it upside down.

    “There is no excuse for this behavior. You are a violent man,” he added. “You may not admit it today, but you need help.”

    While being escorted to the city jail on Tuesday morning, Chighizola declined to comment.

    “When you entrust your children to organized sports, you really believe they are going to be handled in a manner that reflects the values of a community, and, obviously, this didn’t,” Berrigan said outside the courthouse after the sentencing. “It’s a shame.”

  2. 2 Richard Weissman
    September 3, 2009 at 8:53 AM

    A punishment well deserved. Youth sporting organizations are ground zero for teaching our children the proper and acceptable ways to correctly interact with their peers. As well, how to interact in a potentially stressful situation. In the end, it is a game they are playing regardless of the level of advancement. There is NEVER a reason for violence let alone violence coming from the supposed role models…. As for the drug testing, I think that is a gift with purchase for everyone!

  3. 3 Withheld
    September 3, 2009 at 9:53 AM

    It’s about time someone was held responsible for their actions. The judge deserves a ton of credit here.

  4. September 3, 2009 at 10:17 AM

    I just wonder what could have possibly been going through this guy’s mind when he went back into the dugout to grab a bat. Was he planning on murdering the other coach? Did he not think for a second what repercussions his stupid behavior would have? This guy was perhaps one action away from spending the rest of his life in prison…and for an 8 yr old baseball game?

    Steps need to be taken to get people like this away from kids when the VERY FIRST sign of trouble pops up.

    We’ve all seen coaches who are very confrontational with parents, other coaches and sometimes even the kids. Unfortunately, people tend to ignore all the subtle signs and wait until something like this happens before anything is done. You can’t tell me that this coach was a mild-mannered, upstanding citizen before this happened.

    As usual, it’s the morons who run the leagues who perpetuate the “bad coach” stereotype and allow these disgusting events to take place…all in front of our kids.

  5. September 6, 2009 at 9:22 PM

    I’ve been active in local youth sports since 1999. I can put myself in just about every position. I was a player, am a parent, coach, league official & umpire. You can’t be everywhere to witness any signs that a coach might go postal. But when you and or someone do notice it, there should be a procedure to follow for someone to be able to report that person. There should be, but there’s not in many areas. What would be the way to approach the coach who is being accused of being out of line, or whatever the grievance might be? The league needs to do it, but they need help.
    Tony, you know, the only thing almost every club league and little leagues does is a simple background check. During my time as a league official, if anything came to my attention it was dealt with quickly and efficiently, and has resulted in coaches losing the privilege to coach. Problem is, most communities are tight knit, and not many people like to make waves. If people were not fearful, they might come forward with info. Perhaps this coach did act out before, and someone did see it coming, but they were apprehensive to say anything to anyone because diesel coach might get wind, and come at them. They don’t need that problem. I say to those people ”do not think that you will be vilified” just remember the children and the opposing coach who might have been saved a horrific life altering experience if you took action.

  6. September 6, 2009 at 9:49 PM

    Unfortunately I think the only solution is to add the local ballfields to the police patrols. A sad statement of society.

    Still this loser deserves his jail sentence and I’m personally glad to see justice was served.

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