Ex-Garrett coach speaks out after battery case dropped

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) The former Garrett boys basketball coach arrested at a downtown Indianapolis nightclub for reportedly hitting a bouncer has had his criminal case dismissed by prosecutors.

Michael Leffler, communications specialist at Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, said Monday that prosecutors dropped their case against Seth Coffing after he successfully completed a pretrial diversion program he entered into. Court records show two Battery charges and additional counts of Disorderly Conduct and Public Intoxication filed in January against Coffing were dismissed last month.

Garrett coach Seth Coffing

Coffing was arrested early Jan. 8 after an incident at the Tiki Bob’s nightclub in midtown Indianapolis. He had coached his Garrett team in a game against Central Noble at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis hours beforehand.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Marion Superior Court, it was roughly 1:45 a.m. that Sunday morning when an on-duty Indianapolis Police detective spotted Coffing “stumble” into the bathroom of the island-themed dance club a block from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Det. Keith Albert then watched as Coffing tried to shake the hand of club bouncer Joshua Locke after Locke used the bathroom, the affidavit said.

When Locke refused the gesture, Albert said Coffing punched Locke in the shoulder, according to the affidavit.

Locke then ordered Coffing to leave the bar and led Coffing toward the exit. At that point, “Coffing reached back and grabbed Locke by the penis which caused him pain,” Albert recalled in the affidavit. Locke then “took Coffing to the ground” and Albert placed him into custody, according to the affidavit.

Mugshot of Seth Coffing courtesy Indianapolis Metropolitan Police

Coffing was taken to an Indianapolis hospital for treatment, his mouth left bloodied.

Albert noted in the affidavit that Coffing’s breath smelled of alcohol, he could not walk on his own, his speech was slurred and his eyes, red, according to the affidavit. The nightclub cashed out his $160 tab, the affidavit said.

Two other men were with Coffing at the time of the arrest, according to the affidavit. The bar manager told police that the group had been problematic earlier in the night when they requested bottle service but were told the club’s VIP areas were not open, the affidavit said.

In an interview with NewsChannel 15, Coffing refuted the details of the police report, calling it “grossly inaccurate.”

Coffing said he was walking to the bathroom in the bar when he was punched in the face and knocked unconscious “without seeing it coming.” When he came to, Coffing said he was outside on the sidewalk and was being handcuffed by police who were screaming at him. The officer told Coffing he was trying to fight everyone in the bar, he recalled.

Coffing told the officer he had the wrong person, but he was arrested and taken to a hospital where he received 12 stitches. Coffing said he spent 10 hours in the hospital and 72 hours in jail.

After the arrest, Coffing was placed on administrative suspension by the Garrett-Keyser-Butler Community School District. He resigned in late February and assistant coach Matt DeWitt was named he interim boys basketball coach.

In April, the school board hired Bryan Leverenz as Garrett’s boys basketball head coach.

Coffing said he would have “loved” to take his case to trial, but accepted the state’s offer for a diversion program to simply move on from the situation.

County prosecutors across Indiana offer pretrial diversion programs to those with little to no criminal record who are charged with misdemeanor crimes. Guidelines for the program are determined by the prosecutor.