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Wednesday, February 21 News

Girls basketball coach deserved better than ejection / Aaron Johnson

As I settled into my typical bleacher seat in the Darien gym, preparing notes and checking final statistics prior to tip-off of the Wreckers and the Blue Wave girls basketball game on Tuesday night.

I notice something was off.

The junior varsity game had ended between the two schools and as the varsity players from both sides began their warm-ups, I saw that Staples head coach Paco Fabian was nowhere to be found.

Even as the game started and the lack of Fabian became obvious, I began to wonder what had happened.

Since I had not covered the girls basketball game against Stamford last Thursday — I was in attendance at senior night for the boys — the only reason I could think of for the absence was that Fabian had been a bit too upset with a referee and got told to hit the showers.

It happens. It’s sports.

During high school, I can’t count the amount of times my AAU baseball coach blew up on an umpire for a suspect call and was given the recommendation to watch the remainder of the game from the parking lot.

No biggie.

But still, I was curious what call could have gotten Fabian so upset that it would lead to his ejection, and subsequent one-game suspension for the Darien game.

After finding the video of the ejection, I was stuck scratching my head.

Although it wasn’t in his character, I was expecting to see a tirade straight from the book of Bob Knight. But instead what I got was Fabian standing there — no throwing of chairs or even getting into the personal space of the official — and boom.

Gone.

During the years, spent covering sports all across the Nutmeg state — there have been plenty of times I’ve seen a coach deserve an ejection and not get one.

I mean this year alone while covering FCIAC games, there are a good three or four situations when I was certain I would be starting a story, ‘Well it was a short night for ...,’ but the ejection never came and the game continued on.

It just didn’t seem like the “crime” fit the punishment. Again, going off the video I saw of the ejection.

But still, for a coach to be given a technical foul in that situation and thrown out of a game after a missed free throw — with no obscene gestures, no yelling in the direction of, or approaching of the referee in a disrespectful manner — seems blatantly excessive.

There’s no way around it. It cost the Wreckers their coach for the remainder of that game and the Darien game — both losses — and it just seemed unfair to me.

Who knows, maybe next time Fabian should go full Bob Knight — then the ref might show some leniency.

ajohnson@hearstmedia

ct.com: Twitter: @aronJohnson_

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