Leading off today:
Some 347 days into 2013, I think I've found the winner for New York high school sports story of the year in the form of a painstakingly detailed account of chaos
reported by Joe Werkmeister of the Riverhead News-Review.
Sifting though Board of Education minutes and interviewing more than a dozen past and present coaches, administrators and board members, Werkmeister detailed how it is that the position of athletic director at Shoreham-Wading River has come to earn the reputation as the place where careers go to die.
When Canton principal Mark Passamonte takes the helm Jan. 6 as the new S-WR athletic director, it will mark the ninth transition the position has undergone since 2005. Seven of those handoffs have come in the past six years, and the paper noted that none of the 11 Class A schools S-WR typically competes against during the regular season have had more than one change during that timeframe.
Passamonte's hiring comes in the aftermath of a surreal tenure vote that took place May 28 during the board of education meeting in the high school library. At first blush, it appeared that Ken Marlborough, who was first hired in 2008, had received approval as four of the seven board members raised a hand in support of the tenure recommendation.
Curiously, though, just as board president Bill McGrath asked for a show of hands of members opposed, vice president Richard Pluschau interjected and questioned Beran's decision.
Beran shuffled some papers and apologized for getting his "papers mixed up," the paper reported. McGrath re-started the vote, and this time Beran opposed Marlborough's tenure. Three others joined him in opposition, and Marlborough's career at SW-R was for all practical purposes over even though he had received a recommendation from Superintendent Steven Cohen.
And here's the kicker: The paper reported that Beran had been elected to the board just one week earlier and had no previous experience in the role. Still, he felt qualified to cast a vote that guaranteed the district's run without a tenured AD would extend beyond a decade.
In the fine tradition of disappeared drummers in the brilliant mock-rock-documentary "This is Spinal Tap," Lynn Schwartz lasted barely a month after taking over during the summer as interim AD, and physical education teacher William Denniston has filled in since.
I strongly suggest you take a few minutes to read the full story to get a feel for just how far off the rails the district has gone in the past decade thanks to some obvious meddling over issues like selective classification, for which probably 98 percent of all districts have an official policy but SW-R does not.
It will help you understand why even a fiscal conservative like myself finds it difficult to begrudge experienced ADs in large school districts their low-six-figure salaries.
Terrible news: Cody Taddonio, a 17-year-old Cold Spring Harbor senior football player and wrestler, died in his sleep last weekend.
Susan Taddonio, said she found her son unresponsive when she attempted to wake him Sunday morning, just hours after the 195-pound, fourth-year varsity wrestler finished second in his class in a tournament in Manhasset. The cause of death has yet to be determined and the family is awaiting toxicology test results, Newsday reported.
A memorial was held Wednesday night, with a pair of symbolic shoes placed on an otherwise empty wrestling mat. "It was very emotional," AD Michael Bongino told the