MAHOMET — A wrestling coach at Mahomet-Seymour Junior High School has been terminated after he allegedly smacked his players' genitals to motivate them.
Mahomet-Seymour Superintendent Keith Oates said Theo Plothe, who had been a coach since the beginning of this wrestling season and was not a teacher, is no longer in that position.
Mahomet Police Chief Mike Metzler said school district administrators contacted him on Tuesday about an incident that was witnessed by an assistant coach during a wrestling meet in Orion in Henry County, just south of Moline.
Oates said district officials also notified the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
Metzler said Plothe, who was employed by the school district, was believed to have struck his athletes in the genitals with his hand before they took the mat, in an apparent attempt to motivate them.
"The incident was witnessed by an assistant coach who thought it was inappropriate, reported it to his superiors, who talked to one athlete, and learned that there were potentially others who had had the same sort of inappropriate contact," Metzler said.
Metzler said none of the wrestlers were inclined to report the behavior themselves to any adults. He said nothing in what police have heard suggested there was anything sexual about the contact. Metzler said there was also no evidence that similar contact ever happened in Mahomet.
"It was an isolated incident," he said.
"We have interviewed several of the athletes," said Metzler, who said the reports have not been finished. Police also interviewed the coach and the assistant who witnessed the contact.
Metzler said he planned to forward the reports to the Henry County sheriff's office early next week and let them complete the investigation since the alleged incidents happened at the Orion junior high school.