By Holbrook Mohr
JACKSON – A Mississippi sheriff said Tuesday that he doesn’t plan to file criminal charges against a high school girls basketball coach accused of biting a player on the face during a game.
Leake County Sheriff Greg Waggoner told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the girl’s family said they wouldn’t press charges if Leake Academy coach Doyle Wolverton resigned. The school said in a statement that Wolverton resigned Monday.
“As far as we’re concerned with that incident, it’s done … The coach decided to resign, and by doing so the family said they didn’t want to take any legal action,” the sheriff said by telephone.
The alleged assault happened Nov. 12 at an away game against Columbia Academy in Marion County. Waggoner said his office got involved when a Leake County hospital, where the girl’s father took her after the game, reported the bite as an assault.
“When the coach called time out, he got up in her face and pulled her up close, but I can’t explain why he bit her,” Waggoner said. “It broke the skin. It didn’t tear the meat out or anything, but it did break the skin.”
Reports from the Leake County Sheriff’s office said the bite happened during a huddle, possibly after a bad play.
“Victim stated the Coach Wolverton then grabbed her by the shirt and then bit her on the right side of the face. Deputies observed the victim to have a bruised bite mark on the lower right side of her face,” the report said.
Wolverton did not immediately respond to a phone message left with his wife on Tuesday. He coached at the school for 38 years and had the second most wins for any girls’ high school coach in the country, according to Leake Academy headmaster Jerry Crowe.
Crowe said in a statement that he accepted Wolverton’s resignation.
“We are saddened by the departure of Coach Wolverton who has been an integral part of the success at Leake Academy’s girls basketball program. However, at this juncture, we have accepted his resignation and are moving forward,” Crowe said.
Boys coach Phil Shepard will serve as interim girls coach, Crowe said.
News Researcher Judy Ausuebel in New York contributed to this report.