Benjamin football player arrested for allegedly assaulting assistant coach during game
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
by Jason Lieser
EDITOR’S NOTE: The charges against former Benjamin School student-athlete Sam Faria were reduced from felony battery and adjudication was withheld after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery in June 2010. Faria was sentenced to community service for the charges related to a 2009 incident with an assistant football coach.
The Benjamin football player in the middle of the recent controversy surrounding coach Ron Ream has been arrested on a charge of aggravated battery.
Palm Beach Gardens police on Monday arrested Sam Faria, 17, who allegedly punched a volunteer assistant coach in the face, breaking his nose, during an Oct. 9 game against King's Academy.
Ream was forced to resign as coach last week because of his own incident with Faria at a Sept. 30 practice. Ream, who was reinstated Monday, said he had put his hands on Faria to discipline him.
Nine days later, Faria, a 5-foot-9, 155-pound cornerback/running back, hit assistant coach Thomas Flynn, 52, during the third quarter of the game, according to a police report.
The altercation took place after coaches removed Faria from the game.
Assistant coach Dave Parks told officers Flynn "attempted to grab (the player's) jersey," to get his attention and speak with him. Then, Flynn told police, the player punched Flynn in the face five or six times.
Flynn went to Jupiter Medical Center and was treated for a broken nose, the police report said.
Flynn has since left the staff and Faria, a junior, was suspended indefinitely from the football team. He was not suspended from school.
Palm Beach Gardens police said two of its officers met with Juno Beach police and went to the player's home Monday.
When officers asked Faria if he knew why they were there, he replied, "for assaulting my coach," the police report said.
Some of the area's veteran coaches said they could not recall a previous instance in which a player struck a coach.
"I have never witnessed that," said Jupiter coach Charlie Persson, who is in his 29th season with the Warriors. "I'm sure it's happened, but I never remember hearing about that happening in the county. It could have happened and been hush-hushed."
Dwyer coach Jack Daniels, who has been with the Panthers' football program for 20 years, said no coach at his school had ever been deliberately injured by a player.
Ream was diplomatic about the incident at his school.
"I do sympathize with Faria and hope this will lead to some healing," Ream said. "On the other side of that coin, I certainly support and sympathize with coach Flynn. He's the one who took the beating."
The Benjamin Board of Trustees asked Ream to resign last Thursday in the wake of the incidents. Ream said Tuesday he had taken hold of the player by his jersey with both hands and pulled him upright while trying to discipline him at the Sept. 30 practice.
Ream was reprimanded and thought the issue was resolved, but it resurfaced after the altercation in the Oct. 9 game.
The board reinstated Ream after new facts emerged, according to Head of School Robert Goldberg.
Flynn declined to comment Wednesday.
Flynn starred at Cardinal Newman under coach Sam Budnyk before graduating in 1975. Flynn played cornerback for Notre Dame on its 1977 national championship team.
Budnyk has not spoken to Flynn about the incident, but said the notion of a player hitting a coach was unfathomable.
"In my program, it never happened," said Budnyk, who recently retired after more than four decades as Cardinal Newman's athletic director and football coach.
"It's incredible to hear about this at the high school level. I'm having a tough time imagining how that could transpire."