Sunday, August 13, 2000

Kids' coaches suspended

The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON — Coaches of two youth street-hockey teams have been suspended by the Lexington Department of Parks and Recreation over a fight.

        Scott L. Collins Jr., 37, and Ricky T. Lykins, 42, were suspended pending further investigation, said John McClelland, director of parks and recreation.

        The two are accused of fighting during a game between two 12-and-under teams at Masterson Station Park on Thursday, according to a police report.

        “Violence is at every level of sports, and it's something we need to deal with and deal with strongly. But we've got to have the facts first,” Mr. McClelland said.

        The incident comes a month after Michael Costin, a 40-year-old single father of four, was beaten to death in a fight with another parent of a youth hockey player in Massachusetts.

        Thomas Junta, 42, was indicted on a manslaughter charge Thursday.

        “Fortunately, in this case no one was killed, but the real question is, when will they finally get it?” said Fred Engh, president of the National Alliance for Youth Sports.

        Mr. Engh said violence in youth sports will continue until people realize that sports has as much impact on children as school does.

        “It's time we raised the standard of how sports programs are conducted in communities,” he said.

        Mr. Engh advocates making training in ethics and sportsmanship mandatory for parents and coaches. Such training is available through Parks and Recreation.

        A department committee plans to study written statements from the coaches and witnesses in the incident Thursday. The committee could recommend a reprimand, training, suspension or removal from the program.


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