Hutchinson Community College head football coach Rion Rhoades will be suspended for one game because of two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties he received that led to an automatic ejection in the win over Highland Community College on Saturday.
Athletic Director Josh Gooch will take on the role as interim head coach to lead the No. 5-ranked Blue Dragons (6-1) on the road to battle against Coffeyville (2-3). The last time these two teams played each other, Hutchinson overcame a 25-0 hole in the first game of the season a year ago to win 50-42 over the Red Ravens in the largest comeback in school history.
Rhoades is allowed to travel with the team and conduct practices, but he can’t enter the stadium. The head coach of the 6-1 Blue Dragons addressed the penalties at the press conference Monday. He wasn’t fond of two calls he felt were missed by the officials.
The first was an offsides penalty called on the Blue Dragons defense and the second was a non-call on a false start by Highland’s offensive line. Rhoades said the Scotties' left guard moved.
“They were bad misses,” Rhoades said. “When you got a group of guys that’s battling and working hard as this group is, I have a hard time swallowing mistakes like that. I understand officiating crews are human, also, but I feel like these guys deserve a football coach that’s going to fight for them.”
Rhoades said he was sorry for his approach, but not for having his players’ back. The head coach was adamant about the actions that took place in his second penalty that led to his ejection.
“I did not cuss, I did not call the guy a name, I never left the team box and I got an unsportsmanlike penalty,” Rhoades said. “… Most of the time, I think officials are going to be pretty slow to throw the second one on a situation like that. It has to be something pretty obvious like some type of meltdown or real abrasive language of some kind. That wasn’t even close to the way it was.”
“I’m disappointed and embarrassed it happened, but again, my team is worth fighting for and I don’t feel bad about that part of it at all.”
Gooch, who was also in attendance at the Blue Dragon press conference, was the offensive coordinator at Hutchinson from 2007 to 2011 and again in 2013. Gooch was last a head coach at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa in 2012. He will coach from the booth Saturday.
Defensive line coach Alfred Davis will leave the booth and coach from the sideline. Gooch will act as an overseer.
“It’s less about me or whoever would be the interim head coach,” Gooch said. “I think it’s more about the coaches and allowing them to do the same duties that they’ve been doing. Coach (Rhoades) has a great staff and it’s just going to be an opportunity for me to fill a void. It’s about how I can help the coaches and the players and keep things much the same next Saturday at Coffeyville.”