Hatcher charged with battery on police officer

By Ron Gregory Civitas News Service

December 16, 2013

CHAPMANVILLE — A highly successful Logan High School basketball coach has been charged with assault and battery on a police officer during a brawl that broke out during a game at Chapmanville Saturday evening, according to media sources.

Logan head basketball coach Mark Hatcher was detained by Chapmanville town police officers and booked on the charges following Logan’s 52-47 win over Scott in the Nationwide Insurance Basketball Classic held at Chapmanville Regional High School.

A video tape of the game shows that with 4:33 remaining in the game and Logan leading by three points, a melee broke out when players struggled for the rebound of a missed shot. Punches were eventually thrown and players from both squads became involved in the altercation.

Hatcher is seen in the video pulling his players from the area and pushing some toward his team’s bench. Eventually, while two players — one from Logan and one from Scott — can be seen continuing to scuffle on the floor, a Chapmanville police officer is seen kneeling down and attempting to separate the pair. At that point, Hatcher appears to reach for the police officer and push him away from the players as the coach reached for his student/athlete.

It appears that the officer becomes off-balance, perhaps as a result of the Hatcher push, and tumbles to the floor. At that point, the other officers grab Hatcher as the pushed officer gets to his feet. All the officers then push and lead Hatcher from the scene. One even appears to put the coach’s hands behind his back as though he intends to handcuff him.

Both the coach and some of the officers appear to be verbally arguing as he is pushed toward his team bench. Hatcher can be heard telling the officers to “leave me the f—- alone.”

Two players — one from Scott and one from Logan — were ejected as a result of the brawl. Hatcher remained on the bench and continued to coach his team to a win over their Corridor G rival.

But when a reporter went to the Logan dressing room and asked where the coach was, his players replied, “He got arrested.”

Reports were that the Chapmanville police officers grabbed Hatcher as he headed toward the team locker room and escorted him to the police station across the street. Although a reporter could not access the room where the coach was taken, loud voices were heard coming from inside minutes later.

Eventually, a sheriff’s deputy confirmed the Chapmanville police had arrested the coach on the two charges. He said Hatcher “was taken to Logan for processing.”

Nobody was available at Chapmanville Town Hall to confirm the reports although Charleston television station WCHS-TV8 reported they had spoken with Chapmanville police who confirmed the charges. WCHS reported the incident during Sunday night’s Eyewitness News at 6 o’clock.

In a midnight telephone interview, Hatcher told a reporter he would talk only about “how proud I am of the way my kids played tonight.” He refused comment on either the altercation or his alleged arrest.

Defenders of the Logan coach insisted that he was only “protecting his players” during the incident. They allege that Chapmanville police “hate Mark Hatcher and they were out to get him.” Chapmanville and Logan have always been fierce Logan County rivals.

Mark Hatcher’s father, Allan Hatcher, coaches CRHS. His team played in the game following the Scott-Logan tilt and he left the bench for a prolonged period of time during the contest. Fans said he was seen headed toward the nearby police station.

There were no further details concerning the incident.

Logan County Sheriff Sonja Porter, contacted at her home late Saturday, said she “understood” the Chapmanville police made the arrest and she was not expecting an incident report from her deputies. She did know, however, that some were at the scene when the melee occurred.

Logan County Schools Superintendent Phyllis Doty said the incident is “under review” by the Board of Education and no disciplinary action has been handed down to Hatcher at this point.

“I’m aware of the situation,” Doty said Monday morning. “As far as Logan County schools are concerned we do believe sportsmanship and respect are extremely important in order to develop our student athletes. This morning, as of right now, I’m uncertain as to what led to those charges that were filed against the coach because he was never penalized nor was he ejected from the game. He continued to coach until the conclusion of the game. I’m very uncertain right now to what the charges are.”

Doty said in incident is still under investigation.

“I will be working with authorities to resolve this incident,” she said.

The on-court fight and after game arrest gives LHS a black eye many have observed.

“It’s an unfortunate incident and it’s unfortunate that this happened,” Doty said. “But right now, we’re unclear to what led to those charges because nothing was called on him. I’ll be clearing this up. It’s a unfortunate situation and we will deal with it.”

Doty said there was no disciplinary action as of Monday morning.

“I cannot tell you that until we get more facts,” she said. “At this time, I don’t have any further comments because I have to be informed this morning because it happened over the weekend.”

Calls to Logan High School principal Kelly Stanley and Logan Athletics Director and Assistant Principal Brian Atkinson were not immediately returned on Monday morning. A secretary at LHS referred all calls on the incident to Doty.

— Logan Banner Sports Editor Paul Adkins contributed to this report