Coach Knocks Referee Unconscious at Philadelphia Youth Basketball League, Police Say

Police are searching for a youth basketball coach who they say knocked a referee unconscious during a playoff game earlier this month in Philadelphia. Police released surveillance video of the incident.

(Published Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018)

What to Know

  • Police say a Philadelphia youth basketball coach was caught on video knocking out a referee on August 9 after being frustrated by a call.

  • Police continue to search for Antjuan Hart who faces assault charges.

  • The referee who was knocked unconscious was supposed to be honored Wednesday night but continues to recover from his injuries.

Police are searching for a Philadelphia youth basketball coach accused of punching a referee during a game earlier this month.

Antjuan Hart, 26, is wanted on charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and assault on a sports official.

Hart is a coach for the Warren Tanksley league, which consists of players between the ages of 12 and 14. 

Hart’s team was playing in a semifinal playoff game on 48th Street and Woodland Avenue back on Aug. 9. After the referee made a call against his team, Hart became unruly, according to league commissioner Vontez Simpson.

Simpson told NBC10 he called the game in the final minutes due to Hart's behavior. Hart then walked over to the ref and punched him in the face, knocking him unconscious, Simpson said.

“To do that in front of young kids, that sends a bad message," Simpson said.

Police say the referee was unconscious for five to six minutes on the court.

Surveillance video captured the punch and aftermath. The referee was expected to be honored at the league’s championship game Wednesday, nearly three weeks after the incident. He’s still recovering from his injury however.

“He was suffering from seizures,” Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker said. “Has blood on the brain and a concussion.”

Police continue to search for Hart. Meanwhile, Simpson said he plans on adding better background checks for coaches next year.

If you have any information on Hart’s whereabouts, please call Philadelphia Police.

Antjuan Hart. See larger. Philadelphia Police