Massillon high school baseball coach arrested, accused of having cocaine

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MASSILLON, Ohio-- People in the City of Massillon couldn't believe it when they heard Tuesday about the recent arrest of Washington High School baseball coach Neall French.

"I'm shocked.  Kids look up to the coaches and teachers," said John Nesselrode, of Massillon.

French, 31, of Independence, was arrested in a traffic stop back on March 9 in Cleveland.

Police reports indicate he possessed crack cocaine, cocaine, and other pills.

French was charged with a violation of state drug laws.

According to Massillon City Schools Superintendent Rik Goodright, the district was made aware of an incident on Friday.

"Over the weekend, our baseball coach Neall French went on a medical leave of absence for the balance of the season," said Goodright.

Goodright said French was the varsity team head baseball coach for one year and three games.

"We always have concern about the safety and well-being for the students, student body, and employees," added Goodright.

"There's an honor system that you are supposed to live by when you play sports!  I don't think he should be a coach anymore," said Doreen Parrish, of Massillon.

The district said French is also the president of the Midwest Pelicans, a baseball organization that coaches kids in Cleveland and Canton.

"It's 10 times worse if it's a coach.  These kids need role models.  I still associate with my football coach and I graduated in 1991.  That's not good," added Nesselrode.

The district said Jason Hathaway, a former assistant coach, has taken over as head coach of the team.

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