SACRAMENTO -- Brian Buick says he was just trying to keep things from escalating on the field at El Camino High School after a big rivalry game Thursday night, but feels that the way it looked from the stands caused him to lose his job.
Rivalries in sports bring out all kinds of emotions. Rio Americano and El Camino High Schools have a long standing rivalry, and after a close win by Rio Americano on Thursday, emotions ran high.
"We saw that they were trying to plant their flag, and I thought that was super disrespectful, especially after such a game, so I took offense to that and we ran over," said AJ Parker, senior offensive lineman.
Buick, the defensive coordinator for El Camino, says he hustled over as well.
"My intent was to get in between the kids and stop them from fighting or anything like that," Buick explained.
Buick and the players say no punches were thrown, just jawing between the teams. Buick also says he spoke with the Rio Americano coach at midfield and the teams went their separate ways.
"From the crowd’s perspective, I can understand how it looks like a big confrontation," Parker said.
Buick says he then found out that a family member had gotten into a fight in the parking lot.
"I was upset, so when the cop came over, with my emotions going and everything, maybe I came off a little rough," Buick said.
Less than 24 hours later, Buick was told the team was going in a different direction, and he was no longer a part of the team. He says he has been let go from the school before, but wants a chance to talk to school administration about what he says was a misunderstanding, both on the field and in the parking lot.
"I love El Camino, I’m not trying to bring them a bad name, I wanted them to respect El Camino and that’s what I want to tell them and tell them that I want to coach there and I want to finish this with these boys," Buick explained.
The San Juan Unified School District released the following statement:
We can confirm that Brian Buick was released from his position as an assistant coach at El Camino Fundamental High School. While we cannot comment on the specifics as to why an employee was released, San Juan Unified does expect all of our coaches to uphold a level of sportsmanship and dignity.
Members of the team wrote a letter to administration asking for Buick to have his job back.
"He’s always had our back, and he always preaches the concept of family, and he’s family, so when he wasn’t treated fairly, we voted pretty quickly and pretty unanimously that we were going to rock with him," Parker said.
"What we are asking for is reasonable because the amount of people that are reaching out and actually saw the situation, they are in agreeance with us," said Zach Buick, senior quarterback.
The team has gone as far as to say they would stop playing unless Buick returns -- Something that moved Buick to tears.
"I didn’t want to make it about me, I didn’t want the kids to do what they are doing, but the message was I will ride for them and so I'ma ride with them," Buick said.
BUick hopes he can meet with administration this week to discuss a possible return.