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Coach, wife threatened; Newport Harbor basketball program suspended

March 24, 2012 |  9:37 am

Newport Harbor High School Principal Michael Vossen has suspended the boys' basketball program indefinitely because of "criminal threats" directed toward Coach Larry Hirst and his wife, Sheridan.

The Newport Beach and Huntington Beach police departments are investigating the matter, Vossen said in an email to the Daily Pilot. Possible suspects include individuals associated with the Newport Harbor boys' basketball program, Vossen said in the email.

The basketball team has concluded its season, and Hirst has stepped down as coach, saying it was time to go.

"The vast majority of our parents and students understand the lines of civility; clearly the lines of civility were lost in this instance," Vossen said Friday night. "I'm just extremely upset that we lost a really good coach as a result of this."

Hirst and his wife are teachers at Newport Harbor. Because of the investigation, Larry Hirst declined to detail the threats, saying only that it was a threat of physical harm toward him and his family. The threats were occurring at Hirst's home and at Newport Harbor, Vossen said Friday night.

"Individuals found responsible for these acts will be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible under the criminal code and may also be subject to additional disciplinary consequences under district/school policy," Vossen said in the email.

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-- Steve Virgen, Times Community News

Photo: Larry Hirst has stepped down as boys basketball coach at Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach.  Credit: Kevin Chang / Times Community News

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