By Ken Jackson
The former Poinciana High School teacher and basketball coach, who was arrested in January after allegations arose of misconduct with a teenage student, had his scheduled day in court postponed.
Wayne Ricks, 26, was scheduled to go to trial on Monday on felony charges of with battery and transmission of material harmful to minors. But his defense was granted a continuance; that trial is now scheduled to begin Oct. 22.
Ricks, the Poinciana’s girls basketball coach last season and the coach of the school’s Unified basketball team, an adaptive league for players with emotional and physical disabilities, was originally arrested on January 25 after a 17-year-old female victim confirmed she’d received gifts from Ricks, such as shoes, a necklace and and iPhone 8.
An arrest affidavit revealed the victim said Ricks began calling her “every day late and night” and was giving her rides home from basketball practice, often holding her hand. During one ride two months prior, he kissed her, making her feel “awkward and uncomfortable,” the report said.
The victim stated the two never had sex, but said he sent a picture of his genitals through Snapchat, which made her uncomfortable to the point she stopped riding with Ricks and answering his calls. The report noted she didn’t initially come forward to prevent jeopardizing her future or his career.
Two months prior to the arrest, Ricks was chosen as Poinciana’s Teacher of the Year, and was also named the Poinciana’s Coach of the Year, putting him in the running for the county’s Osceola County’s M. Dean Cherry Coach of the Year award, for his efforts with the Unified basketball team, which won the 2017 state championship.
On a positive note, the Unified team, with a new coach, was state runner-up in March, and just last month placed third in the nation at the Special Olympics USA Games in Washington state. The Eagles’ girls basketball team will begin practice for a new season later this fall under new head coach Richard Morgan.