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Wednesday, July 22, 2015: City Honors coach Matos under fire again

   Leading off today: Buffalo City Honors girls volleyball and softball coach Deborah Matos is under fire again, with her fate up in the air after a special session of the school board on Tuesday.

   No action was taken or decision rendered in the face of bullying allegations from a parent filed under the Dignity of All Students Act, The Buffalo News reported. It is the second time in less than two years that Matos finds herself fighting to keep her coaching job.

   The paper reported the complaint was filed by Meg Gifford, one of two parents who unsuccessfully tried to get Matos removed from her coaching posts in September 2013 for what some parents contended was harsh and abusive behavior toward players.

   According to district spokeswoman Elena Cala, it's unknown whether Matos will be allowed to coach City Honors' first practice of the season Aug. 17. There is a possibility another special session could be called to settle the matter before the board's regularly scheduled meeting on Aug. 26.

   Numerous supporters of Matos showed up at Tuesday's meeting, and three were given the opportunity to speak in support of the coach. Among them was State Sen. Mark Panepinto, whose daughter Julia played volleyball and softball for Matos, who coached the volleyball team to a NYSPHSAA championship in 2009.

   "Teachers and coaches like Deb Matos are what make our job easier as parents," Panepinto said.

   On Sept. 23, 2013, Matos was placed on administrative leave from coaching and her teaching position while the district investigated complaints filed by player parents Jim Gribbins and Gifford. Matos was reinstated two weeks later after supporters rallied in her defense. Parents for 14 of the 16 children who played volleyball for Matos in 2013 signed a letter in support of her, according to a Buffalo News story that year.

   Way better than a sand save: Dave Solomon, who recently retired after 34 years of teaching phys ed and coaching at Lehman High School, used an AED to keep a 77-year-old heart attack victim from dying on a golf course last week.

   Bob Beggs was stricken at Putnam County Golf Course on July 14. As other personnel contacted 911, Solomon, the assistant golf operations manager, took off on foot to the 16th hole with the AED.

   "We are trained over and over to deal with this kind of thing," said Solomon, who coached tennis and volleyball for the PSAL school.

   Solomon used the AED twice on Beggs as three other men assisted with CPR. Emergency personnel were on scene within seven minutes, and a medic stabilized Beggs for the ride to Putnam Hospital Center.

   "I was fine in the middle of everything, setting up the AED and working on Bob," Solomon told The Journal News. "You cannot make a mistake with that machine, it will not let you even if you hit the wrong button and everything made perfect sense."

   Beggs was transferred closer to a hospital closer to his New Jersey home Wednesday and was well enough to speak to a reporter a day after the incident.

   "I'm doing pretty good," he said by phone Monday. "I'm still weak and I need to have a stent put in here pretty soon, but otherwise, I'm OK."

   Alkins sorting out choices: Life as a free agent is hard work for Rawle Alkins, the Christ the King basketball star now in search of a prep school to attend this fall while

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deciding which major-college basketball program he'll eventually select.

   "I'm going to have to make two really big decisions," Alkins told The Brooklyn Daily.

   Alkins is getting swamped by calls from prep-school coaches as well as college ones after deciding he was unlikely to win an eligibility appeal to the CHSAA and announced his impending transfer.

   "It's crazy," Alkins said. "As soon as I made that announcement, every single prep school you could imagine was calling my phone. It's like double trouble now. I should have a phone for colleges and prep schools and a phone for me."

   End of an era: After years of decreased student interest, boys gymnastics has been de-listed as a Section 6 sport, The Buffalo News reported.

   Section VI was the last section in New York State to offer the sport, but Hamburg's decision to drop the sport after the 2014 season left only small squads at the three Williamsville schools, where sectional chairman Joe Buscaglia was the coach.

   Buscaglia said the decrease in student interest is what ultimately led to the sport's removal.

   "I know the section is very supportive of boys gymnastics since I've been coaching here," Buscaglia said. "I know they never wanted to get rid of it."

   Looking ahead: Dan Doherty has furnished his annual preview of the girls cross country season with returning all-staters and teams to watch.

   Later this week, I'll pull together a preview of the NYSPHSAA Central Committee meeting being held next week in Tarrytown. It figures to be a fairly routine annual gathering, though a couple of potentially significant ideas for down the road will get an airing in two days of meetings.

   Extra points: Rush-Henrietta girls track sprinter Ceara Watson has signed a letter of intent with Arkansas following a recent visit to the school, a powerhouse in the sport in the SEC and NCAA.

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