Topsail baseball coach suspended following arrest is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

The Topsail baseball team will be without their head coach moving into the season as Pender County Schools this week suspended Jonathan Granville Gehris with pay.

Gehris was arrested last month after police were called to his home on Dec. 23. He was booked on an assault charge, but the district attorney’s office upgraded the charges to felony assault by strangulation last week.

The school district has since released a statement confirming his suspension.

“This suspension will allow time for an investigation and is not to be interpreted in any way as a reflection of his guilt or innocence. As this is a personnel matter, the district will issue no further comments during the investigation,” the statement read.

Gehris was hired by Pender County Schools on Nov. 26, 2012 as a social studies teacher. He applied for and was approved for a physical education position on Aug. 18, 2015.

Gehris helped guided Topsail to a 3A state championship in 2014 and went 25-3 overall last season. The Pirates are scheduled to play in USA Baseball’s National High School Invitational in March. Assistant Coach Chris Blake will run the day-to-day duties as head of the program moving forward.

The first official practice day for spring sports in North Carolina is Feb. 15.