Fight with ump may have cost coach his job

Published on: 5/23/2013

Editor's note: This story has been amended since its original posting.


A grand slam that fractured an umpire's tooth and broke his glasses April 15 has resulted in a felony charge against Jonathan Hassell, 33, of New London. Hassell is the brother of former Carroll University head baseball coach Derek Hassell, who was no longer listed as head coach two days after the fracas.

On April 17, Carroll University posted on its athletics website that Peter Jennings was named interim head baseball coach. When Director of Athletics Joe Baker was asked to comment in April, he said it was a personnel matter and declined to comment further. After charges were filed last week, Baker said he did not have any comment on the matter, but that Carroll has begun the search for a new head coach.

According to a criminal complaint filed May 15 in Waukesha County Circuit Court, John Kunz said he was working as an umpire at a game between Ripon College and Carroll University on April 15. Kunz said Hassell, a spectator, was upset by the officiating and was yelling profanities at the umpires and threatening to to harm them physically. Kunz stated in the complaint that as he was leaving the field he put his arm out to make some distance between him and Hassell, who was being verbally and physically aggressive to his umpire colleague.

According to the complaint, when Kunz put his arm out, Hassell punched him in the face and broke his glasses. The complaint said that when Kunz saw a dentist, he discovered he had a broken crown on one of his back teeth and another tooth was fractured at the gum line. A filling on another tooth was missing.

City of Ripon Police Capt. Bill Wallner said it was made clear during their investigation that Jonathan Hassell was the Carroll University head baseball coach's brother, even though this is not listed in the complaint.

Wallner said in the police report umpires indicated that Derek Hassell was not cooperative after the incident.

"When the punch was thrown he was standing right there and one of the umps asked him who the man was (that threw the punch), and he said, 'I don't know,'" Wallner said.

Wallner said the umpires asked Derek Hassell to go after the man to bring him back to the field after he fled and he refused.

When police later contacted Derek Hassell as part of their investigation, Wallner said he was cooperative in speaking with police. "He gave us his version of the story," he said.

Wallner explained that Jonathan Hassell faces a felony charge for the incident because he fractured Kunz's tooth.

"The felony charge is based on the injury," he said. Wallner said in his 23 years with Ripon Police he has not seen a similar incident. Carroll did lose the game against Ripon on April 15, 12-2.

"In the big picture people are reserved enough that if they've got a conflict, yelling from the stands or whatever, it isn't a problem as long as it's not profane or disorderly. What crosses the line is physical confrontation, then that becomes a problem," he said.

Jonathan Hassell faces a felony charge of substantial battery and a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

His initial appearance is June 4. He faces more than $10,000 in fines and 3-plus years in jail.