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Wednesday, March 11, 2015: J-D coach McKenney reportedly given ultimatum

   Leading off today: Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball coach Bob McKenney has been given a resign or be fired ultimatum by the school district, Syracuse.com reported Wednesday.

   Sources told the website McKenney was given the ultimatum late Tuesday afternoon, but Superintendent Dr. Alice Kendrick issued a statement Wednesday morning that "the district has taken no formal action concerning Bob McKenney."

   Asked if he could talk, McKenney said in a text message Wednesday, "not yet."

   Regardless of the circumstances, the departure of McKenney would be nothing less than stunning. He has served as J-D's head coach since in 1996 and won five NYSPHSAA championships as well as Federation Class A titles in 2004 and 2008. He reached 500 career victories (including 145 in 12 seasons in Vermont) in January 2014.

   The statement from Kendrick says: "With the completion of the varsity boys' basketball season, the program is under review. Any issues concerning the leadership of the program are unrelated to any circumstances surrounding the final sectional championship game, any individual player, or the team as a whole. No decisions have been finalized concerning the future of the program."

   The statement refers to speculation that McKenney is being punished for the handling of second-leading scorer Dom DeRegis over the weekend.

   DeRegis was suspended for Sunday's 69-46 loss to Syracuse CBA for the Section 3 Class A championship. Red Rams teammates wore his No. 5 on T-shirts and socks, and one player wore the senior forward's jersey during warmups.

   McKenney declined to comment about the suspension after the game.

   According to Syracuse.com, DeRegis tweeted, "I hope people know I had nothing to do with this."

   Yet another delay: A decision on the fate of the John S. Burke boys basketball program has been delayed once more, but the matter should be resolved in about a week, Section 9 Executive Director Bob Thabet told The Times Herald-Record.

   Thabet was pushing to have a ruling on recruiting allegations Tuesday during the meeting of the 18-member athletic council after Burke Catholic's attorney, Peter Torncello, and Howard Miller, representing the Middletown School District, made separate presentations and answered questions.

   "I can tell you that I know what everyone's feelings are," Thabet said. "I think I know where it's going, but I don't want to make a comment until we have a final decision. There are a lot of ideas, but we have to finalize those ideas."

   Thabet said he would like to have the matter wrapped up by the end of next week. Charges against Burke Catholic were first revealed in May in a report from a law firm hired by the Middletown district in conjunction with Washingtonville, Monroe-Woodbury, New Paltz and Valley Central.

   Meanwhile, two local attorneys estimated Middletown and Section 9 may have spent in the neighborhood of $30,000 apiece conducting their investigations into the Burke Catholic affair.

  

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  •    "I could generate about $30,000 in six months, no problem at all," said Bernard D. Brady, a Goshen trial attorney. "That is a low number. It could be a lot more than that."

       Said Rich Shapiro, a partner with a Goshen law firm: "I would say it is at least $30,000 for Middletown. That would be the lowest. You figure about $350 an hour, at least $300. If I were a taxpayer, I would be a bit perplexed that my school district was paying that much for an investigation into a basketball program. The money could be used for other resources."

       Middletown superintendent Dr. Ken Eastwood said he couldn't provide figures on how much the investigation has cost his district. The Times Herald-Record has requested that data from Middletown under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). Middletown is expected to respond to the request by April 10. Two recent FOIL requests to Middletown by the New York State Sportswriters Association and one apiece to the four other public school districts involved failed to ascertain a cost.

       "We did not jump into this," Eastwood told the paper. "We monitored this for a year or two and did a preliminary investigation. I have every responsibility to protect our kids and that's what I did. I have no problem doing that and won't apologize for it."

       Hoops progress: Rawle Alkins led Christ the King to a 73-57 win over Holy Cross in Tuesday's CHSAA Class AA semifinals by scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

       Christ the King will face Xaverian, which defeated Iona Prep 50-48, in Sunday's championship game at Fordham University.

       Sayon Charles had 19 points and Nyontay Wisseh added 15 as the Brothers outscored Iona Prep 28-4 in the paint.

       Extra points: Mckenna Maycock of Randolph finished her career with 2,919 points after scoring 22 in a 66-52 loss to Chautauqua Lake on Tuesday for the Section 6 Class C berth in the NYSPHSAA quarterfinals.


      
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