Leading off today:
Two Putnam Valley field hockey coaches have been replaced following a finding by school officials that they were connected to a seemingly harmless video that reportedly was uploaded to a website, The Journal News reported
The paper said Athletic Director Marty Nemecek apparently cited a federal law prohibiting coaches from putting images of students online without parental permission in demanding the resignation of the varsity head coach Kelli van de Veerdonk, a member of Putnam Valley’s 2006 state championship squad.
Assistant Beverly Beladino, also a member of the championship team, resigned before Thursday's 5-1 loss to Arlington. Melissa Philips has been appointed interim coach.
Players had threatened to forfeit Thursday's game in support of the coaches, but school officials warned them they risked having the team disbanded and could also be suspended from playing other sports, the paper reported.
Van de Veerdonk said she recorded the disputed video and said it shows players engaged in a drill on a muddy field. She said she intended to include the clip in an end-of-year slide show celebrating the season.
Van de Veerdonk said she was called into Nemecek’s office Wednesday and the AD accused her of posting the video online to ridicule her players. Van de Veerdonk said she hadn’t posted the video or seen it online.
Van de Veerdonk said she will fight her dismissal.
Headin' to the Hall: Isaiah Whitehead, Abraham Lincoln's first-team all-state basketball star, will continue his career at Seton Hall next fall, adding to a stellar recruiting class.
“He’s a terrific basketball player,” analyst Tom Konchalski told Zagsblog.com. “There are some guys who are physically ahead of him and closer to being one-and-done. But he’s worked purposefully on his skills. He’s become a very good 3-point shooter and he can really pass. He has very good basketball instincts.”
Seton Hall's recruiting class also includes Bishop Loughlin senior Khadeen Carrington, and two other highly coveted players. But Whitehead is the big catch and could become the face of the program.
“It appealed to me greatly, that’s the reason I’m going there to tell you the truth," he said. "I picked Seton Hall to try to bring the program back to where it should be,” he added.
Related note No. 1: Though Whitehead was on the want list for numerous Division I powers, he never took an official visit, instead making unofficial trips to Seton Hall, St. John's and Indiana in the past month.
The reason for not taking official visits is a little-known NCAA rule: A school can't offer a paid visit to a prospect who had not taken the SAT. It's not clear how much of a warning flare that should send up with respect to Whitehead's ability to qualify to play as a freshman.
Related note No. 2: Tiny Morton is still the basketball coach at Abraham Lincoln, though there's substantial (and credible) speculation that he may be moving on to the college ranks -- quite possibly at Seton Hall. Pirates coach Kevin Willard hired former St. Raymond’s coach Oliver Antigua as an assistant not long after one of his charges, 6-foot-9 Angel Delgado committed to Seton Hall.
Speculation went into overdrive Thursday when Antigua's biography disappeared from the Seton Hall website hours before Whitehead committed. In hindsight, it was a plausible "whoops" sort of episode, but conspiracy theorists were viewing it as a signal to Morton that the door was open.
“I expect to coach Lincoln until somebody offers me a job that’s appealing enough for me to leave," Moron said. "Seton Hall, St. John’s, UConn, tri-state area’s my strength, so help me out.”
More recruiting: Cheektowaga senior Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer will continue his wrestling career at Iowa State next year, choosing the Cyclones over Buffalo, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina State and Ohio State.
Rodriguez-Spencer won the 132-pound class in the state Division II championships last February in Albany to cap a 48-0 season. In the spring, Rodriguez-Spencer won his class at the NHSCA nationals in Virginia Beach, Va., beating two-time champ Alfred Bannister of Maryland by executing the “flying squirrel” to score the winning takedown in the waning moments.