Elyria Catholic basketball coach charged with disorderly conduct takes leave from coaching job

ELYRIA, Ohio - The Lorain County high school basketball coach accused of being drunk while trying to get into the wrong house on St. Patrick's Day is taking a break from coaching – at least for this year.

Phil Kuchta, 37, requested and was granted a leave of absence from his coaching position at Elyria Catholic High School, a school official said in a news release Friday.

"We are certainly sensitive to the personal issues Coach Kuchta faces and want to give him sufficient time to deal with the matter," said Mike Wisnor, athletic director at Elyria Catholic.

The school said Kuchta returned to his classroom Tuesday after agreeing to steps laid out by the administration to address his personal issues.

"He addressed the matter with each of his physical education and health classes with the school principal, Amy Butler, at his side," stated the release. "The status of his future teaching contract at Elyria Catholic High School is dependent on his continued progress in effectively dealing with his personal issues."

Though he will no longer be coach, Kuchta will still be allowed to work with student athletes at study tables.

Police said Kuchta was charged with criminal damaging and disorderly conduct after an elderly woman called 911 at 3:20 a.m. on March 17, saying a man was trying to get into her home.

Officers said Kuchta appeared highly intoxicated, was kicking the front door and became aggressive with police.

He told police he thought he was at his or his mother's house – but that was not the case. His own home is several blocks away.

Kuchta was hired as Elyria Catholic's head boys basketball coach two years ago. The school has since named Jason Smith, a varsity assistant coach and school alumnus, as interim head coach.

NewsChannel5 attempted to contact Kuchta after the incident, but he did not return our phone calls.

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