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The Gazette KCRG
Posted October 18, 2012
Lombardi saddened to miss game, but looks to 2013

Cedar Rapids Washington's Mitch Blades (left) talks with head coach Tony Lombardi during the fourth quarter of their game against Cedar Rapids Xavier at Kingston Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Saints won, 35-13. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette-KCRG)

CEDAR RAPIDS – Tony Lombardi expects to remain at the helm of the Cedar Rapids Washington football program after missing the Warriors upcoming game.

The seven-year Washington head coach released a statement through school officials Wednesday saying  he was deeply saddened to miss the final game of the season, but is committed to maintaining a high level of standards as we move forward to 2013. Washington Principal Dr. Ralph Plagman doesn’t anticipate a change in Lombardi’s post.

“Coach Lombardi is under contract with the district to carry out all the assignments that he has in coaching contracts and the teaching position,” Plagman said. “That is correct.”

Lombardi said he agreed with the Cedar Rapids School District’s decision to suspend him for the regular-season finale, following an incident where Lombardi approached and exchanged words with a Cedar Rapids Prairie player after the Hawks 44-6 win at Kingston Stadium on Oct. 11. Lombardi said Wednesday that he will be at practice this week but will not travel with the team or attend Friday night’s game as a spectator.

“His suspension is for the game, pregame (and) postgame,” Plagman said. “He cannot have anything to do with his team on this Friday.”

Washington administrators were informed of the event by College Community School officials and Lombardi himself, according to Plagman. He said some Washington administrators were on the field and were nearby when it happened.

“Finding out what occurred wasn’t difficult,” said Plagman, adding, “I would say coach lombardi’s statement was accurate. Everyone who was involved would agree with that.

“It did not include profanity … but it was an interaction with a player that wasn’t appropriate.”

In the spring, parents filed a complaint with CRCSD about allegations of verbal abuse by Lombardi of players, students and others. Plagman said he has not received any reaction from those parents after this incident.

Washington Athletics Director Paul James was out of town for personal matters when the incident occurred. He returned Monday when he was informed of the situation.

“Being a personnel matter, I can’t comment,” said James, who preceded Lombardi as Warrior football coach. “I can’t comment on anything.”

Lombardi, who also serves as head varsity baseball coach and assistant track coach, called it and “error in judgment” and “bad decision” in an interview with The Gazette on Wednesday after he was informed of the action.

He declined to identify the player and what occurred between the Washington coach and opposing player.

“It was just inappropriate,” said Lombardi, whose assistant Maurice Blue, the Warriors’ defensive coordinator will assume the head coaching role against Dubuque Wahlert at Loras College’s Rock Bowl. “I should not have talked to a kid from another team.”

Prairie head football coach Mike Morrissey returned messages Thursday and declined comment on the situation. Prairie Athletics Director Rocky Bennett did not return messages left Wednesday and Thursday.

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