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Santa Fe Indian School fires hoops coaches after racially charged incident

(Editor’s note: This version corrects the affiliation of David Manning, an athletic trainer at Santa Fe Indian School.)

High-profile Santa Fe Indian School boys basketball coach Ceci Moses and her husband, Rick Schimmel, were fired from their positions after what they said became a racially charged incident last week during a game at St. Michael’s.

Moses and Schimmel, her varsity assistant, junior-varsity coach and SFIS baseball coach, were fired Sunday after he clashed with St. Mike’s athletic director Tom Manning at a game Feb. 17.

‘”Get off the court. This is not the damn reservation,'” Schimmel told Santa Fe Police that Manning had said to the players when they mistakenly thought they could take the court for warmups during halftime.

The home school’s Pony Express dance group was preparing its performance. At its conclusion, Manning tried to tell the Braves they could retake the court. At that point, Schimmel later told police, Manning shoved him. Schimmel claimed Manning caused a “sharp pain in his right shoulder” by shoving him with his hand or fingers.

In Manning’s statement to police, he said Schimmel got “confrontational and got in his face.” He added that he only “tapped (Schimmel) on the shoulder.”

In the report, Schimmel also claimed that Manning’s son, David Manning, an athletic trainer at Santa Fe Indian School, later confronted the team at SFIS and “was yelling and cursing at him and the players.”

SFIS beat St. Michael’s 63-62 Wednesday in a District 5-4A tourney rematch.

Moses, Schimmel and Manning did not respond to phone messages requesting comment. But both schools released prepared statements regarding the incident.

“We agree with the Santa Fe Indian School that a verbal altercation between our athletic director, Tom Manning, and the basketball coaches at Santa Fe Indian School last week were (sic) regrettable and unfortunate,” the St. Mike’s statement read. “However, we vehemently deny the allegation of racial slurs used during the altercation, which are the antithesis of two of our five core values: Respect for all People and Inclusive Community.”

SFIS athletic director Eric Brock declined to comment, other than to say that C-team coach Jason Abeyta will coach the varsity team.

But in the school’s prepared statement, he said: “It was a regrettable misunderstanding between the SFIS coaches and the St. Michael’s administration. The SFIS athletic department apologizes for contributing to the unsportsmanlike atmosphere.”

The specific reasons for Moses’ and Schimmel’s dismissal were not told in the statement, but school superintendent Roy Herrera said in it: “As a pueblo school, we are accountable to our students, families, and the communities whose core values we strive to live, honor, and pass down to the students.”

Moses’ life and that of her daughter, Shoni Schimmel, a WNBA and Louisville star, were profiled in a 2011 TLC documentary “Off the Rez.”

Under Moses, the Braves went 24-28, including 12-13 this season. Schimmel went 10-15 in his one season with the baseball team.

The couple have three children attending the school: sophomore Milan Schimmel is considered one of the top Class 4A girls players. Brothers Job, a senior, and eighth-grader Mick Schimmel are on the boys team.

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