RANCHO BERNARDO – A top local high school basketball coach is facing allegations of bullying and racism.
In 2010, James Choe was named CIF Coach of the Year in San Diego, after his basketball team at Rancho Bernardo High School made it to the section championship.
But a complaint filed is now raising questions about how he gets those results.
Sources tipped off Team 10 to an anonymous complaint filed with Poway Unified School District and the local chapter of the NAACP on “behalf of some students who feel it necessary to inform the District.”
The author writes of “fear, headaches and sleepless nights,” saying, “in light of what just happened … with the Miami Dolphin football players, we feel strongly someone needs to take a STAND’”.
In one October incident in physical education class, the complaint alleges that Choe was “yelling and screaming” at a player, using “four-letter words” and allowing the student to do the same. It was “so intense,” it was “like two street gangs ready to kill one another”.
In another incident, the complaints states that after a black player took a cheap shot from a white player during basketball practice, Choe began to vigorously encourage the black student to retaliate with physical violence.
The complaint also accuses Choe of making racist remarks – once referring to opponents as “inner-city black kids” and placing less talented black players in certain positions, setting them up to fail.
One player, who asked us not to reveal his identity, says he isn’t surprised by the accusations, especially the bullying.
“I’ve seen him throw his clipboard and breaking his clipboard and everything,” the player said. “He’s always yelling, right in your face. He makes you feel stupid. He’s sarcastic in a really mean fashion. It’s very degrading.”
A Poway Unified School District spokesperson says all complaints are treated seriously, adding an investigation was launched and completed. We asked about any discipline, but the district says those matters are not for public record.
Meanwhile, Choe remains the coach for the school. We reached out to Choe through e-mail, but have not received a response.