MORGANTON -- The head football coach at Freedom High School in Burke County has been charged with misdemeanor assault, police in Rutherfordton say.
Mike Helms, who was head coach at West Charlotte High School for one season, was arrested Friday at Rutherfordton-Spindale High School, according to police reports in Rutherford County.
According to several published reports, the victim was Helms’ son, who is listed as a member of the junior varsity basketball team at Freedom High. Helms was released on bond Friday night and faces a court date Feb. 21 in Rutherfordton.
According to police, Helms is accused of striking the victim in the face. The incident occurred in the hallway of the high school, police say.
Helms’ wife, Barbara, told the Morganton News-Herald that the altercation occurred after their son, who is 16, had said something to his father. Helms, who is a guidance counselor at Freedom, has been suspended with pay by the Burke County Schools, pending the result of an investigation into the incident.
Helms was head coach at East Burke, Cherryville, West Charlotte and Northwest Cabarrus before getting the job at Freedom before the 2009 season. In 2000, he followed highly successful Tom Knotts as coach at West Charlotte, and the Lions compiled a 6-5 record, missing the state playoffs for the first time in 13 years.
His teams at Freedom have been much more successful in recent years. The 2011 team compiled a 10-1 record, and last fall’s team finished 12-3, reaching the semifinals of the state 3A playoffs.
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