Minnetonka Skippers boys basketball coach Chris Carr was talking shop with his players on December 15 inside the high school's commons area. The former Minnesota Timberwolf and father of a teenage daughter spotted the young man who was at the epicenter of some troubling news he'd received the previous day.
According to Carr's child, a Minnetonka High student, the teenager had smacked her recently with an open hand.
The alleged assailant was talking to hall monitor and assistant boys hoops coach Ryan Martin. Carr stood up and approached the teen, telling him he wanted to discuss what his daughter had reported. Grabbing a fist full of the kid's jacket near his chest, the six-foot-five-inch Carr said: “Don’t ever put your hands on my daughter again. That is wrong. You never slap a woman. Don’t ever do that again.”
Carr would utter a few more words of caution before returning to his chair. The student allegedly responded by giving Carr the finger and threatening to kill him. The teen later would accuse Carr of choking him, although witnesses reported it appeared as if it was the student, not Carr, who had attempted the choking.
As the teen walked away, Carr added, “You heard what I had to say. Leave her alone.”
Carr, who was in his first year at Minnetonka after five seasons coaching the Eden Prairie girls basketball team, was quickly placed on administrative leave. On December 21, the student’s mother said she wanted to pursue criminal charges against the coach.
Police closed an investigation weeks later, issuing no criminal charges. But the Minnetonka School Board fired Carr last month.
"It's not appropriate for any parent to come into the school to confront any child," says spokesperson Janet Swiecichowski. "… In this situation he used his access to the building as an employee, then physically and verbally intimidated a student, which is inappropriate."
Swiecichowski says Carr should have directed his concerns to school staff instead of taking matters into his own hands.
Carr didn't respond to repeated messages left for him yesterday at Hoops 43, his basketball training facility in Hopkins. According to the police report, Carr admitted he didn't think that what he did "was right but hopes that the student will understand that what he did was not acceptable.”
The elephant in the room remains the daughter's alleged attacker. In a time of heightened awareness about male against female violence, school officials haven't publicly addressed the issue. It's easy to understand the silence. The nationally ranked high school pulls kids in from such places as nearby Eden Prairie and Hopkins through open enrollment. It's the public school system that's advertised more like a private one.
Carr's daughter's assault flies in the face of this marketing.
Citing student privacy rules, Swiecichowski couldn't discuss the specifics of the student's case. She maintained that the teen's actions and Carr's are two separate issues, the fallout of each having nothing to do with the other.
"Kids need to feel safe and be free from intimidation," she says. "The behavior displayed by the adult wasn't appropriate. The student's behavior is a different issue. The behavior we needed to address was how an adult chose to handle a situation and we responded to that behavior because it crossed the line."
As to what punishment the teenager received, if any? Officials aren't saying.