Reading High's promising boys basketball season has been suspended.
Now it's head coach has been, as well.
Rick Perez, who guided the Red Knights to a PIAA championship four seasons ago, has been suspended until Jan. 1.
The reason for the suspension is unclear but appears to be connected to Perez's effort to influence Reading administrators and school board members and advocate for his players.
Reading High athletic director Al McCloud did not return a call from the Reading Eagle seeking information about the suspension.
Following the school board's decision Wednesday night not to rescind its August decision to suspend extracurricular activities, Perez emailed school administrators and board members and attempted to set up a weekend meeting to discuss the issue, according to a source at the school.
Perez was contacted Sunday by the Eagle but did not offer comment on his suspension.
Perez was agitated following Wednesday's board meeting.
"You've seen kids diving all over the floor, diving into the stands … they practice all day and all night and get 电子货币交易平台apphome at 10 o'clock at night... for their community," he told the Eagle. "And now it's time for the nine people (on the board) to go to bat for them. They fill this gym with 3,000 people … we can't get nine people to go to bat for them? We can't get five people to go to bat for us?"
Five affirmative votes would have allowed student-athletes at the school to begin practice for winter sports on Nov. 20 along with students from every other school in the Berks County Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Only two board members voted in the affirmative.
Perez was calmer but just as candid on a video posted to the Reading High Squires Club Twitter account the next day.
"It's ironic, we can fill a gym with 3,000 people but we can't get five votes," he said. "That's difficult to swallow. I hope, in terms of the board, that this thing stays on the agenda and some people come to their senses and understand some things."
Despite the suspended state of Reading's athletic program, students at the school continue to play basketball on weekends within the KTB youth program. Some players, such as Joey Chapman and Moro Osumanu, are playing for Team Final Red, an Allentown-based AAU program.
"We will be, maybe not playing for Reading High, but we'll be playing for the city of Reading," Perez said on the video. "You are going to have an opportunity to enjoy some basketball and see these young men and these young ladies play the game they love."
Perez is entering his 10th season as Red Knights coach. He second in program history with 197 victories, trailing only Jim Gano, and second behind Gano in games coached (264).
The Red Knights won district championships under Perez in 2016 and 2018 and have reached the title game in four of the past five seasons.
With four starters back from a team that went 20-8 and reached the PIAA quarterfinals the Red Knights were expected to make a strong run at league, district and state championships this season.
Perez was attempting to bring parents, players, school administrators and board members together on a Zoom call Sunday evening to discuss a course for the athletic program. He invited local media members to join the virtual meeting. The media was notified Saturday evening that the meeting had been canceled.
A message from @CoachRickPerez regarding the school board vote last night.https://t.co/X5dtAREoyg— Reading High Squires Club (@RHSquiresClub) November 19, 2020