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KIDSPORTS investigating reported fight at Eugene game

A parent said the fistfight broke out between head coach Phil Olietti and a referee during a fifth-grade flag football game at Cal Young Middle School.

Posted: Sep 23, 2019 6:41 PM
Updated: Sep 24, 2019 2:11 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A reported fight between a KIDSPORTS coach and referee on Saturday has parents calling foul.

Parent Rebekah Whittaker said the fistfight broke out between head coach Phil Olietti and a referee during a fifth-grade flag football game at Cal Young Middle School. She said parents had to rush the field to intervene.

"You heard this collective 'no' from the parents," Whittaker said. "We all rushed the field to grab our kids and pull them away, and some people were pulling the coach and the refs away from each other and it was like a movie; it was like fist fighting; it was crazy."

In emails from Olietti to parents on Saturday, he said he was sorry and said he was frustrated because the referees didn't know the rules. The team played another game on Sunday, but in an email to parents that day, Oliette said he would not be coaching the game.

KIDSPORTS Executive Director Beverly Smith told KEZI they are investigating and taking the matter seriously. In an email she sent to parents she said the incident unfortunate and deeply disappointing and disheartening.

KEZI 9 News reached out to Olietti. He said he did not want to comment and will be meeting with KIDSPORTS on Tuesday.

According to the KIDSPORTS website, referees are paid staff and are trained by local professionals in officiating and coaches are volunteers. Their website says if a coach engages in a physical altercation during a KIDSPORTS activity, the coach is automatically suspended from coaching. Reinstatement may be granted after review by KIDSPORTS staff.

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