BEECH GROVE, Ind. — Beech Grove High School’s head basketball coach has been suspended following his arrest for dealing and possession of cocaine, just months after winning the 2022 IHSAA Class 3A state championship.
Mike Renfro, 45, was booked into the Henry County Jail early Monday morning after sheriff’s deputies pulled him over on I-70 East in the New Castle area.
Court documents say deputies clocked Renfro going 45 mph on the interstate and struggling to stay in the lanes.
A deputy said he smelled alcohol coming from Renfro’s vehicle after he was pulled over. When asked if he had any alcohol, the deputy says Renfro began to cry and admitted to having “a couple drinks.” Court documents show he failed several field sobriety tests and refused to do the one-leg stand test because “a sober person couldn’t even do it.”
Deputies say they noticed a folded dollar bill on the driver’s side floorboard, something that was recognized as a common way to conceal narcotics. When the bill was unfolded, deputies found a white substance that reportedly tested positive for cocaine.
A deeper search of Renfro’s vehicle uncovered multiple small baggies of a white powdery substance and more folded dollar bills under the floormat, according to a probable cause affidavit. The substances inside all tested positive for cocaine. Deputies say altogether there were nearly two grams of cocaine in the vehicle.
Officials say since Renfro was traveling with that amount of cocaine on the interstate, it’s reasonable to believe he had intent to deliver the narcotic.
He was arrested and later charged for dealing and possession of cocaine, operating while intoxicated and public intoxication.
Renfro is just the latest case of coaches getting in to trouble. Last week 22-year-old Marquis Feldman, an assistant football coach in Plainfield, was accused of selling drugs to students.
“It’s really important for school district to consider how we are hiring all personnel not just teachers,” said Chase Lyday, Executive Director of the Indiana School Resource Officer’s Assocation.
Both Beech Grove and Plainfield said each coach passed all background checks, but chase Lyday said districts need to do more.
“If we don’t have processes and systems in place to dig deeper into our professionals, we are stuck with only what comes on a very flat surface investigation,” Lyday said. “Many times there’s something under the surface that we need to look into as well.”
A letter sent to families and staff of Beech Grove City Schools (BGCS) said Renfro has been suspended pending further investigation.
“Some in our community may understandably question the district’s hiring practices and how something like this could happen,” wrote BCGS Superintendent Dr. Laura Hammack. “Please know that the individual in question passed all criminal and other background checks required during the hiring process.”
In March, Renfro led the Beech Grove Hornets boys’ varsity basketball team to its first state championship in school history.
Renfro was also nominated for the Coach of the Year at the Indiana High School Sports Awards.
Max Lewis contributed to this story.