SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — Jon Mannarino, the Lakeside High School boys basketball coach accused of hitting and shoving one of his players, was also the subject of a misconduct complaint in 2018 as coach of the Beachwood High basketball team.
Beachwood City Schools records show he violated the school’s bullying policy by using vulgar language to admonish the team and individual players. The records also said he drew a picture of female genitalia on a white board to illustrate his crass reference to the team’s effort.
Beachwood declined to renew his annual contract on April 10, 2018, following an internal harassment investigation. The school also sent a complaint of “educator misconduct” to the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Professional Conduct, although there is no history of any action on the complaint, said Mandy Minick, an ODE spokesperson.
“Mr. Mannarino’s actions are unbefitting a Beachwood City Schools employee, one to whom we entrust our student athletes for leadership and guidance,” concluded Beachwood Schools Superintendent Robert P. Hardis. “He has lost the respect of his players and their parents. He has forfeited his credibility as a coach of young people.”
Mannarino coached the Beachwood High basketball team for four seasons, from 2013-14 to 2017-2018, two years as an assistant and the final two years as the head coach. He later was an assistant coach for one season at the private Hawken School in Gates Mills before becoming Lakeside’s head coach this season.
The Star Beacon obtained Mannarino’s Beachwood records through a public-records request of the school district.
Mark Potts, Ashtabula Area City Schools Superintendent, said he had been assured Mannarino “was carefully vetted” before he was hired at Lakeside in June.
Contacted by the newspaper by phone, Mannarino said he did not want to comment on the accusations against him “until everything gets cleared up.”
Mannarino, 31, was placed on unpaid leave when Michelle Henton, the mother of Lakeside basketball player Brandon Ford, 17, filed a complaint Jan. 14 with the Ashtabula County Sheriff, accusing Mannarino of assaulting her son on Dec. 26, 2019, during a practice. Mannarino also is on leave from his position as a AACS tutor.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Slocum looked into the complaint but thus far no action has been initiated by the Ashtabula City Solicitor.
Slocum interviewed Mannarino and Lakeside assistant coaches and players during his inquiry.
Slocum’s report stated Mannarino said Ford was “running his mouth” during the “very intense” practice session and he removed him from the gym temporarily to discuss his behavior.
Mannarino said he and Ford later participated in a team drill, when “things became extremely competitive” and Ford began “running his mouth again using inappropriate language.”
Slocum’s report said Mannarino acknowledges he elbowed and grabbed Ford with “no intention to hurt him.” The coach denied pushing or shoving Ford.
Slocum also interviewed Ford. His report said Ford didn’t remember if Mannarino grabbed him by the shirt. Ford also said the coach did not push or shove him and they were friends.
“It was obvious that Brandon Ford was evasive in being totally truthful,” Slocum wrote in his report.
Slocum interviewed several Lakeside players who were present during the practice. His report states they agreed it was a “competitive practice” and several said they saw Mannarino push Ford out the gym door. One said he heard Mannarino and Ford calling each other names, according to Slocum’s report.
An assistant Lakeside coach interviewed by Slocum said Mannarino hit Ford in the face and pushed him during the practice, during which, he added, Ford was “mouthing off.”
The coach also told the sheriff’s deputy he didn’t believe Mannarino intended to harm Ford.
Another coach said he didn’t see anything unusual that day and spoke highly of Mannarino, according to the report.
Slocum included the school’s video of the practice session with his report.
Henton viewed the video with Potts and a school board member the day before she filed her complaint with the sheriff, according to Slocum’s report. Henton said it showed Mannarino pushing her son and grabbing his shirt and then pushing him into the hallway, according to the report.
Mannarino is a 2007 graduate of Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls. He graduated in 2011 from Thomas More University in Crestview Hills, Ky., with a degree in business administration.