Belle Vernon Area suspends baseball coach for 2 games

| Friday, May 23, 2014, 12:11 a.m.

When Belle Vernon Area's baseball team takes the field next season, it will play its first two games without head coach Daryl Hixenbaugh.

Hixenbaugh, who just wrapped up his first season in a return stint to the school's baseball program, has been suspended for the first two games of the 2015.

Hixenbaugh was suspended after a May 14 meeting before the WPIAL Board of Control.

Hixenbaugh was called to the meeting because of comments he made about game umpires following a 2-1 loss to West Mifflin in a contest played April 17.

After the game, Hixenbaugh said, “The WPIAL puts these guys on a pedestal and gives them autonomy, but they are simply not very good. I have seen some truly horrible officiating this season.”

BVA's baseball program is already on probation for incidents that took place last season and in the 2012 PIAA playoffs, two seasons in which Hixenbaugh was not involved with the program.

When the WPIAL became aware of Hixenbaugh's comments, it ordered the meeting with the coach and BVA Athletic Director Jesse Cramer.

At the time, WPIAL Executive Director Tim O'Malley said Hixenbaugh's comments about went beyond what is permitted to be said about officials to the media.

O'Malley said the WPIAL has a specific policy about what coaches can and cannot say and “(Hixenbaugh's) comments in the newspaper went beyond what is acceptable.”

O'Malley said he could not comment on any penalty handed down, saying the meeting between BVA and the WPIAL was “closed.”

O'Malley did say the board felt the BVA administration was in compliance with the previous sanctions against the district and that Hixenbaugh crossed over the line with his comments.

When reached by for comment on his suspension, Hixenbaugh deferred all comments to BVA Athletic Director Jesse Cramer.

Cramer said the district chose the suspension over a few alternatives that were discussed with the WPIAL.

“It's something that we have to just move on from now,” Cramer said. “We can't have those kind of distractions going on now, and I think everyone realizes that. There are just some things you don't want to say or do.”

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