WESTFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — A coach is trying to restart basketball clinics after the head coach was arrested for assaulting and abusing teenage girls.
53-year old Barry Wolfe was the coach of the AAU team, the Central Illinois Storm. Police say he sexually assaulted and abused four girls more than a dozen times.
Practices are continuing at the gym. Coach Sean McHenry is trying to stay positive. He started clinics back up saying, the longer they waited, the harder it would be to come back from.
He says, when it started, he didn’t have any expectations, but so far, he’s been pleasantly surprised.
“I can’t say it’s dead forever, but it’s dead in the reality of elite and storm basketball.”
It was the team which helped some of Illinois’ best high school players get noticed for college. But, after Coach Barry Wolfe was accused of engaging in oral sex with some of his players, the team collapsed.
“It’s sad. It’s disappointing and a lot of years of work are just gone. But that’s okay. We’ll move on.”
The process comes in the form of basketball clinics. After reflecting on the program for a month, Coach McHenry says parents and players pushed him to keep it going.
“Parents have been awesome. Nothing but support or encouragement. They wanted somewhere for their kids to go as well, so they were very supportive. I’ve had no negative input from anyone and maybe those people wouldn’t reach out to me anyways.”
He coached in this gym with Wolfe for ten years. It’s not something he was ready to give up. He says player who want to improve their game will continue to come and parents are always welcome to watch practices. But, he knows his friend had an impact.
“I wanted to see him. He’s my friend and yeah, I did try to get in but the jail has certain qualifications so I wasn’t able to see him.”
But it’s not something he’s willing to talk about just yet.
“I’d rather not comment. I’ll just take a pass on that.”
Practices are for both boys and girls. At the last few practices, there have been anywhere from 10 – 12 players, but they’re more local than they used to be. Practices take place Sunday nights.
Wolfe is being charged with crimes against two girls who say it happened in Coles County. The judge reduced Wolfe’s bond to $2 million.