Leo officially removes Shawn Frison, alum Jamal Thompson takes over

Leo coach Shawn Frison gives directions. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.
Leo coach Shawn Frison gives directions. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Leo announced on Wednesday that basketball coach Shawn Frison has been removed from his job and replaced by alum Jamal Thompson.

“It is what it is,” Frison said. “That is their decision.”

The school said it investigated an altercation after a game in Washington, IL and determined that Frison “acted in a manner inconsistent with the standards expected of a Leo High School employee: administrator, teacher, staffer or coach.”

The incident involved Frison and assistant coach Fred Cleveland Sr., the father of Leo’s star player. Cleveland said that Frison punched him. Frison denied that and claimed Cleveland had orchestrated a coup to take his job.

“I feel like I was set up,” Frison said. “If they don’t want me there it is fine, but don’t defame my character. I love this school.”

“We thank Coach Frison for his contributions to Leo over the last three-plus seasons and wish him well as he moves on in his career,” said Dan McGrath, the school president.

Thompson, a 2000 Leo grad, played at Quincy University and was previously an assistant coach at Seton.

“This is a dream come true,” Thompson said. “Leo is my school, and I’ve wanted to come back and help out since I graduated from college. It will be a blessing to be involved with our young men, not just on the basketball court but in the classroom and in other aspects of their lives.”

Cleveland will remain on as an assistant coach.

“I support everything that goes on at Leo,” Cleveland said. “I’ll stay on as assistant coach. I know Jamal. We are looking forward to Friday’s game against Loyola and moving on and getting to Peoria. Leo has been great to me and my family. I’m all about trying to get these boys a free education, not just my son.”

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