The students' perspective on Villanova Sports.

Ryan Arcidiacono’s HS Coach Amidst Controversy

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-John Gleeson/Bucks Local Times

Editor’s Note: Updated on January 6, at 11:36 a.m. to add the press statement from Neshaminy High School. A second update was made on January 6, at 10:30 p.m. to add Ryan Arcidiacono’s reaction.

One of Neshaminy High School basketball coach Jerry Devine’s highlights is in current Villanova player Ryan Arcidiacono.

Arcidiacono has risen to stardom since setting foot on Villanova’s campus, starting almost every single game since his freshman year. Before becoming a co-Big East Player of the Year, he was excelling at Neshaminy.

In his junior season, he averaged 20.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.0 assists. A back injury caused him to sit out his senior year.

Arcidiacono’s alma mater and high school coach are grabbing headlines today, but not for the right reasons.

City of Basketball Love obtained video footage from Tuesday night’s boys basketball game featuring Neshaminy and Pennsbury. The clip is only five seconds long, and is captured video footage of Devine making contact with a referee.

It appears to be a head-butt or possibly even a chest bump, but there is definite contact between both men.

“From my vantage point, it looked more like a chest bump or a belly bump that just caught the ref off-guard,” said Chris Ermer, a color commentator who was a part of the game’s broadcast, to City of Basketball Love. “And after making contact with the official, coach Devine almost indicated by giving a sweeping motion with his hand that he thought the ref had flopped, that he thought the contact wasn’t enough to send the man to the floor.”

Regardless, Devine was removed from the game after the incident occured.

So what made the tenth year coach and teacher in the school district react like that?

According to multiple sources, it was a heated response to a charging call directed at sophomore Chris Arcidiacono, Ryan’s younger brother. Chris had been going for a layup that would have cut Pennbury’s lead down to three, before he was whistled for the foul.

“He made contact with an official, and I don’t think that’s ever really excusable,” Ermer said. “Sometimes those opinions are not always expressed on a broadcast for me, but I don’t think there’s ever a place where officials should feel like they’re intimidated or contact you, it’s certainly an intentional, physical contact, which is totally inappropriate.”

The school announced early Wednesday morning that it will conduct a thorough investigation of the events that occurred at the game between Devine and the referee on Tuesday night.

Administrators will not comment on the situation until the investigation is complete.

The school did release a press statement on the matter:

“The administration at Neshaminy School District is conducting a thorough review of an incident at the varsity basketball game Tuesday evening (January 5, 2016) involving coach Jerry Devine and a referee. Appropriate action was taken at the game following that incident, and further measures may follow depending on the outcome of that review. As this is a personnel matter, we will not be able to comment on the specifics of any possible disciplinary action until that review process is complete.

Mr. Devine has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of that review for both his teaching and coaching positions.

The athletic program at Neshaminy places the values of fair play and sportsmanlike conduct above all. We expect our coaches and staff to teach and uphold those principles, while acting in a professional manner at all times.”

As for Neshaminy’s former star and current Villanova Wildcat Ryan Arcidiacono, he also released a statement earlier today:

“Coach Devine is a great guy – I was surprised to hear what happened. I texted him that I was thinking of him and how good a person he is.”

That was all that came from the Neshaminy alumnus before Wednesday night’s Seton Hall game. He addressed the incident a little further after the game.

“Devine’s not that type of person,” he said. “I’ll back him to the end, I love him, he was a great coach. He’s always going to be there for me.”

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About The Author

Eugene Rapay '16 created "The Bench Mob" in November 2013. He joined the Villanova Times in 2012 as a writer. A Westchester, NY native, who will bring top quality coverage of all things Villanova sports.

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