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BY TONY LACAVA Californian sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Frontier High baseball coach John Moncier has been suspended for the remainder of the season following an incident with an umpire during a game last week, the Kern High School District confirmed Tuesday.
The disciplinary action comes at a crucial time for the Titans (23-6), who wrapped up a Southwest Yosemite League championship Tuesday. Playoffs start next week.
The veteran coach's suspension, a decision made by Frontier principal Dan Shannon, stems from an April 29 game at FHS against Stockdale, when Moncier was ejected after an exchange with umpire Mike Jones.
KHSD spokesman John Teves said Moncier used foul language, made physical contact with the umpire and set a bad example for student-athletes.
"We're trying to teach kids there are consequences to your actions," Teves said. "This is one of those things where his actions exceeded, by far, what we expect from our head coaches. We're supposed to try to set an example (student-athletes) can follow and that certainly was not the case (April 29)."
Ron Valenti, who was an assistant, has taken over as head coach of the Titans, who are 12-2 in the SWYL, with one regular-season game left, vs. Independence on Thursday.
Moncier, who was in his third season as Titans' head coach, said the suspension "totally shocked me."
He said there was "absolutely no physical contact," and that he "had some problems" previously with the umpire Jones.
Moncier said he gave Jones a piece of his mind. "I got about 2 inches from his ear because I didn't want a kid to hear me and anyone from the stands to hear me."
Upon ejection from a game, Moncier said, a coach is required to "leave the premises."
He said he wasn't aware of that rule at the time, and instead walked down the left-field line after his ejection and observed the JV and varsity games simultaneously.
He admitted he gave Jones another piece of his mind before the umpire left the premises following the game, adding: "I did not say it loud, did not raise my voice."
Moncier was coaching on a "walk-on" basis, meaning he does not also teach at the school. He said this likely was going to be his final season coaching high school ball.
Moncier retired from the Kern High School District three years ago. He was worked as a teacher at the Ruggenburg Career Center, a vocational learning facility for special education students, across the street from Foothill High since 1979, Teves said.
Moncier's involvement in local baseball has been extensive, including several years as head coach at BC.
"We realize he did a tremendous amount of good for a lot of kids and lot of baseball programs," Teves said. "He's an outstanding individual, but this incident last week was one of those things we can't overlook. We still hold him in high regard and recognize what great contributions he made to baseball in Kern County."