Former Griz coach arrested on assault charges after alleged incident with girlfriend


MISSOULA, Mont. - A former University of Montana football coach was arrested on assault charges.

39-year-old Shalon Jermaine Baker faces felony aggravated assault, partner family member assault and unlawful restraint charges. He was booked in jail early Thursday morning.

According to court documents Baker's girlfriend, who is eight months pregnant, said he pushed her after the two got in a verbal fight. She said she then tripped or fell on the floor and Baker straddled her and began to choke her with his hands to the point where she couldn't breathe.

The report goes on to say that Baker stood up and shouted at the woman and when she stood up he slapped her in the face. The woman said when she tried to use her phone to call her mother for help, Baker took the phone and pretended to throw it from the balcony.

Court documents say the woman was able to get the phone back and call 911.

Police say the woman has visible injuries when they arrived, including a bruise or abrasion on her head, a bruised eye, blood on her mouth and swelling and welts around her neck.

According to the court documents Baker told police the argument was only verbal except that he grabbed the woman's phone away from her and grabbed her shoulders to do so.

The judge set bail at $100,000 and told Baker he can't have contact with the woman.

Baker was a receivers coach for the Griz football team. According to Senior Associate Athletic Director Jean Gee, Baker's contract expired January 31. He was hired by former head football coach Robin Pflugrad in January 2010.

Baker also played wide receiver for the Griz from 1991 to 1994.

NBC Montana will continue to update this story.