SAN JOSE – Willow Glen High School football parents have come to the defense of coach Oscar Caballero in the aftermath of a video that surfaced last weekend appearing to show a coach knocking over a member of the crew holding the sideline yard markers.
In an email Wednesday addressed to Willow Glen principal Amy Hanna and copied to numerous other parties, including the Bay Area News Group, a parent of a player on the San Jose school’s team said the crew member was violating rules by videotaping and tripped when confronted by Caballero.
“Coach Caballero did not assault the parent volunteer,” Bryan Holmes, writing on behalf of the WGHS Rams parents, said in the email. “He walked over to him after multiple players reported to him that he was video taping them and their play calling process and slapped the phone he was video recording with out of his hand, which caused him to step back and trip over the chain.”
The Bay Area News Group has seen the grainy video shot from the other side of the field at Leland High on Friday night. In the video, the coach, who has not been identified by school and district officials, picks up his pace as he approaches and appears to contact the crew member. The crew member falls to the ground.
The San Jose Unified School District said it is investigating the incident and would provide an update when there is more information to share.
Even if the district concludes the Leland parent tripped over the chain, the coach involved could still be disciplined for taking matters into his own hands rather than asking the head referee or a school administrator to take charge.
The name of the sideline crew member has not been made public. The Bay Area News Group has tried to send messages to the man through two Leland sources. He did not reply.
The incident report sent by the officials association to the Central Coast Section office noted that a Leland parent was removed from the chain crew because he continued to videotape after being told to stop and that there was an altercation between a Leland parent and a Willow Glen assistant coach, CCS assistant commissioner Marco Sanchez said on Tuesday.
Told that this news organization had heard Caballero was involved, Sanchez said, “Our initial information is that it is not the head coach.”
In Holmes’ email the following day, the parent implied that Caballero had been suspended.
“How can you suspend someone pending an investigation, when he should be allowed to coach until the truth comes out and the investigation has concluded?” Homes wrote.
Willow Glen is scheduled to play host to Overfelt on Friday.
The Bay Area News Group reached out to the district office, which also was copied on Holmes’ email, to confirm that Caballero was the coach involved in the incident and whether he had been suspended. The district has not responded.
In an email to the Bay Area News Group on Saturday, San Jose Unified spokesperson Jennifer Maddox wrote, “Athletics are a significant part of our school system. Our athletes are able to play because of the support of game officials and field staff. Our top priority is the safety of all involved.
“San José Unified is investigating the incident, and should the assault of a game official or field staff be verified, San José Unified will seek appropriate consequences.”
Flag football sights & sounds: Another daughter of a former 49ers QB leads Bay Area team
Bay Area News Group high school football predictions: Week 5, 2023
High school football rankings Week 5, 2023: Bay Area News Group Top 25
Monday Morning Lights: After Serra, who is the next-best WCAL team?
Bay Area high school football: Where to find our complete Week 4 coverage
Hanna, the Willow Glen principal, athletic director Eric Ostrowski and Caballero have not replied to messages left by the Bay Area News Group.
Sanchez said it is unclear if the warning about the videotaping occurred before or after the man fell to the ground.
The man was back on his feet before the play ended. The officials did not see the incident because they were watching the game, the CCS assistant commissioner added.