PADUCAH, Ky. (WSIL) — A basketball coach from Michigan faces news felony charges for punching a Paducah referee during a basketball tournament earlier this month.
Originally the coach was only charged with assault, but due to the extend of referee’s injuries, authorities upgrades his charges.
Keyon Menifield, 40-year-old, showed up for his scheduled court appearance in McCracken County on Tuesday for his original charge of assault of a sports official.
Menifield was arrested again while at his court appearance after the McCracken County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office upped his charges to a second degree assault, which is a class C felony.
Menifield is accused of punching referee Kenny Culp at the end of a basketball game on April 6.
More than a week after the incident, the victim’s friend and the tournament’s organizer are still in disbelief.
"I’ve been involved with high school basketball since 1974 referring and I’ve never seen anything like this," Dwaine Crick, Kentucky High School Athletic Association assigning secretary said. "I’ve seen coaches get mad, I’ve even seen two coaches get together, but I’ve never seen a coach go after a referee."
McCracken County Sheriff’s Department said Culp was refereeing a basketball game at the Paducah Regional Sports Plex when a disagreement between Culp and Menifield became violent.
"He spent nine days in Vanderbilt University Medical Center on the trauma floor and now he’s going to have to go into rehab," Crick said.
Crick said this was Culp’s third game of the day and made only $20 per game.
Tournament organizer, coach and Marion native Riley Swinford said the argument was over a play.
"He (Menifield) thought there was a foul on the last shot that would have allowed his team to win or send the game to overtime," Swinford said.
Swinford said Menifield left the sports plex immediately after the incident.
"He gathered all his little kids and told them to get in the van and hurry up lets go," Swinford said.
Sixty-five teams from across the region came to play in the two-day tournament with the goal of getting youth players exposed to college scouts.
Swinford said the McCracken County Sheriff’s Department later arrested the coach at the hotel that Saturday night.
The basketball team from Michigan was kicked out of the tournament for the rest of the weekend.
"In my opinion, that coach should never coach again," Crick said. "He should never be allowed to coach young men or young women on a basketball floor or any other floor."
Crick said Culp suffered a broken collar bone, a crack in his sinus cavity, concussion and bruising throughout his face.
Menifield was originally charged with assault of a sports official, but after officials learned about the severity of the injuries, they upgraded the charges on Tuesday.
"You never expect something like this to happen you’re hosting a youth basketball tournament for kids," Swinford said.
Menifield faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Menifield has criminal convictions for assault and drug trafficking. The previous assault convictions were not on other sports officials.
Crick and other friends have started a GoFundMe for Culp’s medical bills.
As of Tuesday, they raised $6,052 of the $10,000 goal.