Paso Robles football coach reinstated as teacher, but he won’t rejoin team this season

Paso Robles High football coach Rich Schimke talks to players during a game against Clovis North in September.
Paso Robles High football coach Rich Schimke talks to players during a game against Clovis North in September. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Paso Robles High School football coach Rich Schimke was reinstated as a teacher at the school Wednesday, according to a news release from the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District.

The longtime football coach will not rejoin the team for the rest of this season, according to the news release, and assistant coach Matt Carroll will continue to serve as interim head coach.

Schimke was placed on paid administrative leave last week after he poured syrup into the belly button of a football player during a locker room celebration Oct. 14. Video of the incident was published Tuesday.

On Wednesday, parents rallied with signs reading “#IStandWithSchimke” in front of the district offices and made their case for the character of the coach who has led the football program since 1999. The school district was in possession of and reviewed the video before making its decision to reinstate Schimke.

Video obtained by The Tribune shows Paso Robles High School head football coach Rich Schimke pouring syrup on a player during a post-game celebration. What happened next is in dispute, but the video led to Schimke being placed on paid administrati

The district’s full statement reads:

“We would like to respond to ongoing inquiries and concerns regarding the status of coach and teacher Rich Schimke. The district has determined that the Oct. 14 incident occurred in relation to Mr. Schimke’s service as the head varsity football coach, and had no nexus to his service as a classroom teacher. As such, Mr. Schimke has been reinstated to his classroom teaching position effective Nov. 3, 2016. Matt Carroll will continue as interim head football coach until the end of the season.

“In response to ongoing speculation, the district can confirm that no formal action regarding Mr. Schimke’s status as a coach or otherwise will be before the governing board at the Nov. 8 board meeting.

“The safety of our students and their well-being continues to be our focus. We are dedicated to providing a safe learning environment for all of our students and ensuring their success.”

Travis Gibson: 805-781-7993, @TravisDgibson