An on-field outburst sparks WFISD investigation

An on-field outburst sparks WFISD investigation

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - An argument Monday night at Rider High School sparks an investigation by the Wichita Falls Independent School District.

Scot Hafley, WFISD's Athletic Director, is accused of yelling profanity at Coach Eric Ward.

Witnesses said the incident happened over the new turf fields at the school, in front of about 200 children and parents.

Peggy Crowley said she saw Scot Hafley cursing and yelling for Coach Ward to get the NFL Flag League players off the field.

"We got on the field, and this guy just started yelling and screaming and telling Eric to get his you-know-what off the field," said Crowley.

She and many witnesses headed back out to the fields on Tuesday to support Coach Ward and said they were proud of him for the way he handled himself.

"He never lost his temper.  He just told him 'Quit yelling at me.  Quit yelling at me.  Let me explain,'" said Crowley.

John Bruno, an NFL Flag Football League Coach, said, "Eric asked him, 'Can you please stop yelling at me in front of everybody.'  I knew it had to be humiliating."

Another coach for the league said everybody complied when Hafley told them to get off the field.

"Nobody argued with him.  Nobody got combative or anything. So, for him to just get outraged like that and start cussing before he even talked to anybody was crazy," said Kenji Johnson, an NFL Flag Football League coach.

Johnson said, "Ward put the league together in an effort to keep the kids from sitting at home all summer and out of trouble."

Ashley Thomas, the WFISD Public Information Officer, said the district appreciates Coach Ward.

"As a district, we respect Coach Ward and all he's done for WFISD, for the students and children in our community, and the mark that he's made on athletics at WFISD," said Thomas.
     Thomas adds, the district does not believe the incident on Monday night is representative of the WFISD or the athletic department as a whole.

Coach Ward told Newschannel 6 this was a misunderstanding and a communication error.

Ward was already planning on heading to Elgin High School to coach under his former high school coach, Jim Garfield, and he resigned Tuesday morning.
He said he is ready to get back to the kids and the community and is thankful for the opportunities he has had at WFISD.

Scot Hafley did comment on the situation and said since the incident is a part of an ongoing investigation, he cannot speak on the matter at this time.

Officials from the district said the new turf field at Rider was still a construction site and was not available for public or school use at this time.
They add, in no way do they condone Hafley's alleged actions and will be interviewing witnesses, parents and coaches during their formal investigation.
Once it is complete, they will release more information.

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