A basketball coach at George Wythe High School has been charged with sexual battery, a misdemeanor, following an allegation that he touched a student’s “hind part.”
Willard J. Coker, 62, of the 1000 block of Nelson Street, was charged on Jan. 8 after a criminal complaint was filed in General District Court. A student made the complaint to a magistrate two days after classes resumed from winter break.
According to the complaint, the alleged touching incidents took place on Dec. 5 and 6, and the student reported it to administrators after the second time.
“They said they was going to handle it and they said he was definitely going to be removed from the school,” the complaint read. “Winter break is over and he is back in the building. ... I don’t feel safe going to school.”
Neither police nor school officials would comment, saying the investigation is ongoing. Neither Coker nor his attorney immediately returned requests for comment.
After the first incident on Dec. 5 — when the student said in the complaint that Coker followed the student around a corner making an inappropriate comment and “tapped [the student’s] hind part” — the student said “not really knowing how to feel, I carried on,” according to court documents.
The next day, the student encountered Coker again when he grabbed the student in the same area and made another inappropriate comment, the complaint showed.
“I was just shocked and froze inside,” the student said in the complaint. That’s when the student told administrators.
Coker is identified on the criminal complaint by name and as “GW High School Boys Basketball Coach” and “State Champion Coach.”
Coker was an assistant coach at Virginia Union University for 23 seasons, then became the head coach in 2008. He guided the Panthers to a 55-25 record in three seasons. His contract was not renewed after the 2010-11 season. He became the boys head coach at George Wythe in 2012 and led the team to the school’s first state title in 2015.
Sexual battery is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of less than $2,500.
Coker was granted bond on Friday.