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Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013: Supporters go to bat for coaches

   Leading off today: I somehow neglected to mark it down on my calendar, but Monday apparently was beat-up-on-the-school-board-because-it's-doing-bad-things-to-good-coaches night at locations across New York.

   It was a two-for-the-price-of-one spectacle in Marcellus, where students, parents and other residents expressed displeasure over two recent decisions. According to The Post-Standard, half of the 20 or so people who addressed the board urged the administration to retain boys lacrosse coach Leo McInerney. The others expressed disappointment over the Oct. 8 firing of cross country coach Oscar Jensen.

   "Shame on you for stripping this man of his dignity in a very public way," said Shaun McGuane, a Marcellus cross country parent and a longtime coach at Central Square.

   Jensen was dismissed after an apparent misunderstanding over medical health forms that weren't processed before runners began practicing in August.

   As near as anyone can tell, McInerney is on the outs with the school board after three seasons in charge because of a misunderstanding over use of the school's turf field by a club team that McInerney runs.

   "There has been no coach who has made such an investment in Marcellus lacrosse, from youth programs up to the varsity levels," said Kevin Hutchings, who intends to sign a letter of intent with Syracuse University. "The past few seasons have kind of put Marcellus on the map. I can't imagine what this season would be like without him."

   At 10:50 p.m., board president Ryan Riefler and board members emerged from the closed meeting and said no action was taken, which means that for at least the time being there continues to be no contract offer for McInerney -- a situation which may change later in the fall.

   As ill-advised as the Marcellus board's treatment of McInerney may look to observers, they have nothing on the people in charge at Berne-Knox-Westerlo, where boys basketball coach Andy Wright has been told by acting Superintendent Lonnie Palmer and Principal Brian Corey he won't be brought back for his 11th season.

   Miffed by the decision, Tom Galvin resigned as athletic director the same day Wright was told he would not be back. He was one of 18 people who signed up to speak in support of the coach, The Times Union reported.

   Wright, a social studies teacher in the district, said he still has not been told why he was not reappointed; he believes a few parents of past players were upset with a lack of playing time for their children.

   "I want to know what is wrong," Wright, the 36-year-old father of five, told the board. "I feel I have a right to know after 10 years of service, not just as a teacher but as a coach at this school."

   In an in-depth story on the controversy last week, JV coach Brian McCoy told the Altamont Enterprise school officials have approached him about filling Wright's job.

   “I’m not sure if I would take the job; I don’t like how things are being handled,” McCoy told the paper. “I’ve been with Andy for a long time, and he did a great job, all the right things. He was selfless, and helped me become a better coach. There’s no reason to fire him.” football site

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   Wright told the paper he was given a “tip plan,” or a corrective set of guidelines to follow, by administrators three years ago and followed it to the letter. “There were no problems, no issues. I was never brought in for counsel, no memorandums, nothing.”

   Bite your tongue: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt," Abraham Lincoln once said.

   What ol' Abe said sounds pretty sensible, though sometimes taking a risk by speaking up works out just fine.

   For instance, take the case of Fayetteville-Manlius girls tennis coach Phil Rudolph, who recounted a story about himself in The Post-Standard's look at F-M's 328-match winning streak. AD Rich Roy approached his coach and in 1993 after a second consecutive loss to Liverpool (the first snapped F-M's 93-match win streak) to inquire if there was a specific problem.

   “I said, well, I should have never said this, I was young and stupid; and I said, ‘We’re going to win the next 70 matches in a row,’” Rudolph recalled. “And when I left, I said, ‘Why did I say that? Why did I say that?’”

   Being honored: The New York State High School Softball Hall of Fame has announced its Class of 2014 inductees, who will be enshrined June 14 at the Mudville Softball Complex in Herkimer.

   Those being honored are Jennifer Fisher (Arlington), Terri Huggins (Hyde Park FDR), Wendy Herm (Minisink Valley), Eileen Troy (coach, Greenwich), Colleen Yurewitch-Lemieux (Hoosick Falls), Cristen Barry (West Genesee), Dale Cook (coach, Susquehanna Valley), Gary Pratt (coach, Deposit), Jodi Dinga (Union-Endicott), Linda Kelly (Binghamton), Jennifer Doolittle (Chenango Forks), Dixie Butler (coach, Brockport), Katie Robertson (Brockport), Pam Amabile (Frontier), Pete Scott (coach, Depew), Kathy Delgais-Butler (Wantagh), Jim McGowan (coach, Bay Shore), Karen Andreone (coach, Syosset Our Lady of Mercy).

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