Indians Coach J.R. Schwer said he and three assistants who were present at the mid-March tournament were fired by Urioste Monday. He acknowledged that a large number of players were served alcohol by an assistant coach, who he declined to name.
“I first found out about it Friday when I was approached by Burroughs administrators at our practice,” said Schwer, who served as the Burroughs head coach for two years and an assistant for eight. “We had other coaches and an administrator who were on the trip with us, and they didn’t even know about it.
“I do my best to hire the best coaches that I can, and we do everything to take care of the kids. For a coach to do what he did…” he said, his voice trailing off. “I don’t think the kids have to suffer by having their season taken away from them…I just feel terrible for the kids.”
Urioste confirmed that 11 players who directly participated in the drinking have been suspended five days, effective Monday. Seven athletes who were aware of the incident but failed to come forward have been given two-day suspensions, the principal said. He declined to say how he learned about the incident.
“There were bad decisions made here, and they were certainly not good decisions, inappropriate decisions,” Urioste said. “It’s very hard then to say that this person…was more culpable than another. Really, the best decision was to say that this is a serious matter…and the right thing to do was to suspend the players, forfeit the season and say that we absolutely need a new coaching staff.”
The Indians were scheduled to take on host Glendale at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday in a league contest. The Indians had nine league games remaining.
The Indians (6-8-1, 3-2 in league) were in the midst of a season that had them in contention for a postseason playoff spot, as they were tied for third in the Pacific League heading into Tuesday’s games.