King baseball coach Jim Macaluso has been suspended three weeks by the Florida High School Athletic Association following his ejection from a game Saturday.
Macaluso was removed from the game against Bloomingdale after confronting an official about a play at second base in the third inning, according to an officials’ report from the game.
The official was attempting to end the argument over the call when Macaluso clapped his hands “together at my eye level, about 2 feet in front of my face and yelled, ‘Let’s go!,’ ” the official said in the report.
That prompted Macaluso’s ejection.
According to the report, Macaluso then had to be restrained by several assistant coaches who were trying to get him off the field.
Once Macaluso got back to the dugout, he broke away from his assistants and again confronted the official.
“Don’t big league me. What did you eject me for? The clapping?” Macaluso reportedly asked the official.
Told that the clapping indeed got him removed the game, Macaluso allegedly called the official a “punk,” then was taken back to the dugout by another assistant coach.
Macaluso watched the remainder of the game from a chair near a light pole down the rightfield line. His ejection came on a day when King honored three of the four baseball coaches in the school’s 53-year history, including 76-year-old Jim Marshall who was the first coach from 1961-68.
Macaluso will not be eligible to return until April 27 and will not be allowed to attend any games or be present at the site of any game during the suspension, according to the FHSAA. He also won’t be approved to coach again until he completes a six-hour “fundamentals of coaching” course provided by the NFHS.
“Under no circumstances shall a coach attempt to publicly criticize, berate or intimidate an official,” the FHSAA letter to King reads. “Judgment calls on the part of the officials are not subject to question or discussion.”
The incident was considered a Level 2 infraction, which carries up to a six-game suspension. King was also fined $200.
The loss of Macaluso comes at a particularly inopportune time, as he will miss the Lions’ final three regular-season games and the district tournament, which is scheduled to run through April 26.
King is 17-3 and 10-0 in District 6A-11, the first time in Macaluso’s 38 seasons as head coach that the Lions have gone undefeated.
Macaluso, who declined comment on the suspension, said this was one of the best teams in his time at King.
“I’ve got to rank them right up there with some of the better ones that we’ve had,” said Macaluso, a 1966 King graduate. “It’s been a good team effort.”
Joel Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jdhometeam.