VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A mother and her juvenile son are charged in the assault of a longtime Norfolk coach after an alleged attack in the parking lot of Green Run High School on Monday.
Ken Whitley, an assistant wrestling coach and activity bus driver, has been a well-respected staple at Norview High School since 1968.
Whitley says he had just dropped off the school’s basketball team at Green Run when he side-swiped a parked car. He says he exchanged information with the car owner, Christy Joy Kieschnick, before they parted ways.
Soon after, Whitley says Kieschnick’s son approached him.
“He started cussing me out. He’s a 17-year-old kid and evidently he feels free that he can cuss me out,” said Whitley.
The coach says the juvenile returned to his bus four different times, becoming increasingly more frustrated and vocal. Whitley says he ultimately pointed his finger at the teenager and told him to calm down.
“All of the sudden, he got a good lick of me; knocked me out. Just like MMA, I dropped right down to my knees,” said Whitley. “He was pummeling me. He beat me up pretty good.”
Whitley says the student ran off. By this time, he estimates a crowd of 100 people were watching the chaos.
As he started to call 911 for help, Whitley says the teen’s mom ran outside and onto his bus.
“As she was coming on the bus, I stood up,” he said. “I didn’t know what she was going to do and she sucker punched me. She broke my nose.”
Police say they charged Kieschnick, 42, and a male juvenile with misdemeanor assault and battery. Norfolk Public Schools says the juvenile is Kieschnick’s son.
Kieschnick told 10 On Your Side over the phone Wednesday that her son defended himself after being choked by Coach Whitley.
“I can’t say 100 percent that I did not touch his neck. I know for a fact I would not have choked him,” he said. “It’s not in my nature.”
Word of the incident has upset students positively impacted by Whitley throughout his almost 50-year career.
“The amount of people that Ken Whitley has touched personally is beyond measure. He’s just one of those guys that will always be there for people; one of those guys everyone wants to be around,” said Bryce Atkins, a 2013 Norview graduate. “He’s one of those guys, nonstop working. He’s retired, but he is here to give back to the kids [and] the community.
Whitley says he is bruised on his head, arms, neck and knees, but he expects to heal. He says he has gotten dozens of phone calls and messages in support since the incident.
“I am so humbled to know that people still care about me,” said Whitley. “They are good kids. I love them to death and evidently they love me to death, too.”
Khalilah LeGrand, senior director of communications for the Norfolk Public Schools, released a statement Tuesday night regarding the incident:
We were very disturbed to learn about the alleged assault on Coach Whitley. Our thoughts are with him and we hope for his quick recovery. The coach has filed a report with the Virginia Beach Police Department and because the alleged assailant is a minor, a report was also filed with the school’s resource officer. We trust that both the Virginia Beach Police Department and Virginia Beach Public Schools will work expeditiously to bring resolution and justice in this case. As this incident occurred in another jurisdiction and remains under active investigation, we cannot comment further.”
Whitley says he plans to remain a coach and activities bus driver for Norview once he recovers.
Kieschnick says she plans to file charges against Whitley and will be fighting the allegations against her and her son in court.