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Laguna-Acoma coach placed on leave; may face charges, civil lawsuit

February 26, 1997

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ A high school basketball coach accused of spitting on a referee after his team lost a game last week has been placed on leave with pay and may face a criminal misdemeanor charge of battery.

George Marquez, head coach of the boys team at Laguna-Acoma High School, was placed on administrative leave by the school.

A police report says Marquez was involved in an altercation with referees Jose Jacquez and Elias Coriz following Laguna-Acoma’s 60-45 loss at Santa Fe’s St. Catherine High School on Friday night. The incident occurred in the officials’ locker room.

Jacquez, who said he was considering filing a civil lawsuit against Marquez, said the coach burst into the locker room after the game, yelled obscenities at the two officials and a scuffle erupted.

``First, he spit on me, then he pushed me,″ Jacquez told the Albuquerque Journal on Monday. ``Then he pushed Elias. When we both grabbed him, he started swinging. He had a bloody nose where we pushed him against the wall.″

Jacquez said he and Coriz subdued Marquez and held him until police arrived.

``Mr. Marquez had injuries to both sides of his face, minor abrasions and swelling on both sides of his face,″ said a report by Santa Fe police officer Steve Altonji, who investigated the incident.

According to police records, Marquez, Jacquez and Coriz each filed criminal complaints. Marquez alleges he was struck by the two referees and Jacquez and Coriz allege they were hit by Marquez.

Santa Fe police Capt. David Segura said the trio will appear before a municipal judge. No hearing date has been set.

According to Altonji’s report, Marquez admitted pushing Jacquez and calling him a name. Marquez also told police Coriz punched him on the side of the head, and both officials pounced on him.

Marquez, 40, declined comment Tuesday.

``I’ve talked to a lawyer and he’s advised me not to say anything,″ he said.

Laguna-Acoma athletic director Dan MacEachen said he met with Marquez on Saturday and the coach was placed on indefinite leave pending an investigation by the school. Assistant coach Ken Kostedt has taken over the team, MacEachen said. The Hawks’ record is 7-14 heading into district tournament play this week.

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