Donnie Boyce, former Proviso East coach, appeals firing after altercation with student

MAYWOOD, Ill. (WLS) -- A former high school basketball coach is speaking out for the first time since he was fired. Donnie Boyce was let go from Proviso East High School in Maywood last week after he was seen in cell phone video in an altercation with a student.

Boyce knew he would be disciplined, but never thought he'd get fired. The successful Proviso East former coach is disappointed in the way the situation was handled. The mother of the student seen in the video agrees. Both say there are no winners.

Boyce should be at Proviso East preparing for Tuesday night's boys varsity basketball game, but instead the former coach is home and unemployed. Boyce was fired last week following a December incident in the school cafeteria while working as a security guard. Boyce was caught on video with his hands around Nikerrah Walker's neck after he tried to break up a fight between the high school junior and another student.

"What you saw was a 10 second clip of a two minute incident," Boyce said. "She got physical with me so, I felt like I had no other way to resolve it, but to physically restrain her."

When Nikerrah's mother saw the video she was outraged. Thelma Walker took the video public after she says she was ignored by the school district.

"I just wanted someone to take actions for his account because just imagine seeing your child being handled in such a way," Walker said.

Now, Walker has regrets about going public with the video because she never wanted Boyce to lose his job.

"Maybe, he could have been offered anger management. Anything other than losing his job," Walker said.

Boyce is a former Proviso East basketball star who played briefly in the NBA. In his three-and-a-half years as Proviso's coach, his record was 92 wins 13 loses.

In support of their popular coach, players wore t-shirts with the words "Bring Back Donnie Boyce" before a game last week. The students were reprimanded by school officials for their silent protest.

Boyce wants his job back, not just as a winning coach, but as a role model for kids that need one.

"We need more people who went on to have success to come back and teach our young kids the right way to have a positive impact on life," Boyce said.

Boyce is appealing his firing. He has received some coaching interest from other high schools, but Boyce says Proviso East is his home and that is where wants to coach.

Citing personnel issues, Proviso Township High Schools District 209 had no comment.

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