Arlee man found guilty of assaulting basketball coach

By Beacon Staff

LIBBY (AP) – An Arlee man has been found guilty of assault on a sports official for punching the varsity basketball coach after a season-ending loss.

Francis Pierre was found guilty in city court in Libby after a daylong trial Friday. He faces up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 when he is sentenced on Sept. 26.

Pierre was charged with punching Arlee basketball coach Brandon Hobbs in the face on Feb. 23, knocking Hobbs’ head into a door frame and causing a 3-inch cut behind his ear that required two staples to close, court records said.

In the aftermath, the Arlee school board banned Pierre from all Arlee school events, including out-of-town events, and coach Hobbs resigned, said current Arlee athletics director Melinda Pablo.

Hobbs was assaulted outside the locker room area a few minutes after the team fell 63-60 to Superior in the District 8B tournament being held in Libby.

At the time, Hobbs said he was “cornered” by Francis Pierre and his son.

“The next thing he did was just cold cock me,” Hobbs said.

Pierre said Hobbs had verbally abused his son, Richard, during the game and that he was defending him.

Hobbs said Richard Pierre was giving him nasty looks from the end of the bench and that he told the boy to change his attitude or go home.

At the time, Arlee athletics director Jim Polk said the altercation appeared to be over playing time for Richard Pierre. The boy was on the junior varsity team and Hobbs allowed him to suit up with the varsity for the tournament because he had been playing well on JV.

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