Virginia Girls High School Basketball Coach Attacks Fan During Game: 'Inexcusable'

Tom Rife, head coach of the Richlands High School girls' basketball team, was filmed attacking a spectator on Feb. 23

A Virginia high school’s girls basketball coach is under investigation after an altercation with a spectator during a game on Thursday. Richlands head coach Tom Rife was captured on video jumping over the team’s bench and confronting a male spectator during the final seconds of his team’s 54-51 loss to Wise Central.. Google MAps
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A high school girls' basketball coach in Virginia is under investigation following a heated altercation with a spectator during a game.

Tom Rife, head coach of the Richlands High School girls' basketball team, was filmed jumping over his team's bench to confront a spectator on Feb. 23.

In the video, Rife is seen grabbing the spectator's shirt and pushing him backward. The spectator did not appear to fight back. According to Fox News, Rife gestured toward security to have the spectator thrown out of the game, and accused him of heckling.

Footage of the incident was shared on social media. The Tazewell County Board of Education has launched an investigation, Fox News reported.

PEOPLE reached out to Richlands High School leadership for comment on Tuesday afternoon.

A statement released by the superintendent of the Tazewell County Board of Education, Dr. Chris Stacy, said, "We are aware of the incident at the RHS basketball game and while we do not condone any misconduct from our coaches or spectators at this time we are still investigating the actions of all parties involved."

The incident will also be investigated by the Richlands High School principal, athletic director and deputy superintendent, per Fox News.

"Inexcusable. He needs to step down or be removed," one commenter said on a video of the attack posted to Facebook.

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Rife has a long-standing history with Richlands High School, having coached the Lady Blue Tornadoes from the 1970s until 2005, and also serving as the boys' basketball coach, Fox News reported.

According to the Kansas City Star, Richlands lost the game shortly after the incident.

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