NATOMAS (CBS13) – Damian Carter is no longer the varsity boys basketball coach at Natomas High School after he reportedly punched a referee — and Natomas High teacher — during an adult recreational basketball game.

Carter, who coached boys basketball at Natomas last season, is charged with misdemeanor battery and faced a Sacramento Superior Court judge on Thursday.

“Damian was an off-campus coach,” Principal John Eick said. “He was a coach hired from the community and was the coach here.”

Carter allegedly punched a referee during an adult rec game at the Natomas Racquet Club last month after a dispute where Carter’s wife complained about a call and Layne responded back to her. The referee, Ben Layne, was knocked unconscious.

Layne is a longtime teacher and football coach at Natomas High School.

“Mr. Layne has been here for years,” Eick said. “I’ve been for 13 years, and he’s been here as long as me at least.”

The principal told CBS13 that Carter will not be back as basketball coach next season. That news came as a relief to some people in the community.

“He has a responsibility to be a role model for the kids that he is coaching and to show restraint sometimes,” Michelle Cooksey said. “It’s his job.”

School starts at Natomas next week and students will almost certainly be asking questions about the alleged attack by a former employee on a current teacher.

“Any student who approaches me about violence of any kind, certainly I would tell my students our school stands for respect, responsibility and safety,” Eick said.

The principal really didn’t want to talk about this incident. Instead, he repeatedly said how excited he is for the new school year, one that now won’t include Carter.


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