Robin Laird, South Pas track star
Robin Laird, South Pas track star
Taylor Block (

Monrovia Track Coach Wins League Title, Loses PR War

After 30 years coaching track, Monrovia High's Mike Knowles has learned a thing or two about the rule book.

So when he spotted a friendship bracelet on the wrist of South Pasadena's top pole vaulter, Robin Laird, he sprang into action. Citing a rule that forbids athletes from wearing jewelry, Knowles got Laird's first-place jump disqualified. As Laird crumpled in tears, Knowles and Co. celebrated their first-ever Rio Hondo League title.

It's safe to assume Knowles was not ready for what came next. This week, Sports Illustrated wrote about the situation, prompting the citizens of the Internet to call him "an incredible dick," a "hyper-competitive tight-ass", "the biggest bitch in the history of life," and so on.

As TV crews swarmed the South Pasadena squad's practice for the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 championship yesterday, Knowles was hiding out somewhere, refusing to talk to the press.

But he did tell SI that he hopes something positive comes out of this.

"It's unfortunate, that's all I can say," he said. "It's unfortunate for the young lady. But you've got to teach the kids that rules are rules."


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