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Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin was able to ride the bus and walk in with his team Wednesday while traveling to Julian. What he wasn’t able to do was sit on the bench and coach.
Irvin was serving the first game of a four-game suspension issued to him and Simeon coach Robert Smith by Chicago Public Schools officials. The suspension was the result of their conduct during their January 16 matchup at Chicago State, according to a statement released by CPS official Barbara Byrd-Bennett.
In an unrelated incident, a Morgan Park student was shot and killed in the parking lot following that game.
Assistant coach Lance Irvin, Nick’s older brother, will serve as interim coach. He had an easy start in his first game as the Mustangs humiliated the Jaguars 84-30 in Red-South action.
“We just wanted to come out here and play hard,” said Lance Irvin, who was an assistant coach for 17 years at the college level, including a stint at Illinois State University. “I’m not going to comment on the suspension -- it is what it is. That’s why I leave that alone. I’ll let the people downtown comment on that. CPS is cracking down really hard.”
Not to be lost in the drama of his coach is Mustang guard Kyle Davis, who scored 22 of his 25 points in the first half when his team constructed a 53-13 lead. Davis had four three-pointers and a dunk in the first 16 minutes before giving way to the reserves in the fourth quarter.
“I didn’t know anything about the suspension until I saw coach Lance coaching here,” Davis said. “I play for him the same way I play for Nick. We’re just going to continue playing hard until Nick comes back.”
The Mustangs (18-2, 5-1 in the Red-South) ran off the first 18 points of the game and led 20-3 after a quarter of play. The Jaguars (2-13, 2-6) scored their first point with :31 seconds left in the first on a free throw by Armanti Everett.
Billy Garrett, Jr. had 15 points for the Mustangs.
Nick Irvin, who cheered for his team in the third row behind his team’s bench, was instructed by the CPS not to talk to the press. He honored that request.