Philadelphia Middle School, Baseball Coach
Told To Stop Making Boys Fight

Principal says no more boxing matches at baseball practice

By Hugh G. Willett,

A Loudon County baseball coach will not be disciplined for encouraging players to don boxing gloves and duke it out during practice.

"This was a one-time incident," said Kevin Gentry, a first-year principal at Philadelphia Middle School.

After complaints from parents, Gentry said, he asked the school's baseball coach, Brian Curtis, to stop the boxing matches.

After speaking with Curtis, Gentry said he is confident the issue is settled.

"He understands it will not happen again," the principal said.

Gentry said he first learned of the boxing matches - which were reportedly staged to make the players more aggressive - on Monday, and that he has contacted all the parents who complained to let them know that he would put an end to the practice.

The parents who expressed concern are satisfied with the situation, Gentry said.

He said he had received three calls from parents protesting the boxing matches and at least four calls in support of the activity.

The bouts, which were conducted without protective equipment other than boxing gloves, occurred during a single practice session and were "totally voluntary," Gentry said.

"All the boys participated willingly, and some were even waiting to get a turn but did not get the chance to participate," he said.