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Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Coach's Role: Westfield Board of Education Must Make It Clear

     The Bd. Of Ed. made a decision concerning the Westfield High School girls varsity basketball coach. It is widely believed that the decision was based on the failure of some players to play as much as they thought they should, or, more importantly, as much as their parents thought they should play.
     Inherent in the decision of the Board is the question of whether winning is a prime goal of sports or if it is more important that each player feel appreciated and/or each parent feel that his/her child is appreciated. 
     The Board must also temper its actions by remembering that some parents are trying to re-live their youth through their children.
     The Board has the legal right to remove coaches. Each member of the Board was elected on a promise of transparency. They should fulfill those promises.
     At present the Board claims it will not discuss Personnel matters. This usually refers to matters of a personal nature independent of the teacher’s/coach’s duties. (Notable exception to this was the teacher caught with pot)In the present matter, it seems the manner in which the coach acted as coach was the sole reason for the Board’s action.
     The Board will act as it wishes and for as long as it is allowed to so act. What must be done, however is to not question the dismissal of one coach but to demand to have defined, by the Board, the rules and regulations by which it judged him. That way, all coaches would know how to act in the future. If winning is to take a back seat to the feeling of the players that they are appreciated, then that should be the criterion for each sport.
     The Board should be required to set forth a standard to be followed by each and every coach. To do less leaves the coaches open to uneven criticism. What is bad conduct for a basketball coach is equally bad for a football coach etc. etc. etc.
     If a coach is expected to win, then say so. If he/she is required to play all his/her players then let everyone know in the beginning that winning is just desirable as opposed to the aim of the team.
     There is no need to expose what the Board claims to be private. Let the Board however avoid the embarrassment it now suffers by announcing the standards by which it has and will judge coaches in the future. Let the Board also announce its position on winning so that the children and the parents will be able to know where they stand before they decide to try out for a sport. At least the children should know if they can be on a winning team or play with a group who have other goals.


  1. This is a "normal" state of affairs in sports, I think we all can remember when something similar like this has happened, it occurred when I was in high school. Favoritism, predatory behaviors are all part of the world we live in. If you have a way of putting a stop to it, please let us in on it.

  2. If it was about having a winning coach - Joe should have been fired a long time ago. I highly doubt this has anything to do with playing time or winning. Playing time is the convenient immediate response from any administrator/coach to why any parent has a complaint about a coach. Just as the parents and kids must sign a form demonstrating that they agree to act in a certain way, there should be a similar form for the coaches. Some of the sideline antics are very hard to watch (this comment is not about Joe, from what I have seen his sideline demeanor in baseball and football is fine). Just as the kids represent the school and community, so do the coaches. Seems like from most of the comments the bully coach definition pendulum has swung to far Is yelling now a bully? is commenting on appearance now a bully? is calling out a kid for making a bad play or running the wrong play a bully? is degrading players now a bully? Can you embarrass you players? I agree that coaches, parents and players should know where the line is. If Sandy and the BOE can produce them it would go a long way in avoiding this type of issue in the future.

  3. If you demand the Board of Ed make it clear whether the team winning or the players feelings are more important then I demand the coaches/town clubs make it clear that only the coaches kids, coaches friends kids and kids who pay ridiculous hourly rates to sub par "trainers" for private lessons will make the high school teams. Anyone else needed to fill the roster is just that....filling the roster. They will never touch a ball, field, court, etc....

  4. I have a friend of mine whos daughter scored 1000 pts during her high school career,this was done through hard work and dedication, why is it so important to some parents that every kid gets a trophy no matter how much you put into your goal or not....what next high school diplomas for everyone?????

  5. Every parent wants their child to be treated with respect. It seems obvious this coach could not do that. This has nothing to do with playing time.

  6. Does anyone know why Joe is no longer the freshman baseball coach? I do not see any mention of this in the comments or the leader article. Anyone care to shed any light on this?

  7. It is my understanding that Coach Marino was asked to step down in order to dedicate more time to the varsity girls basketball team as this year had/has potential to be a "best ever" type season. By stepping down from baseball and being let go from basketball Coach Marino is also losing about $20K in wages annually.

  8. I guess he is now another casualty of the 'It's all about winning' philosophy. I find it hard to believe he would willingly give up the baseball salary to dedicate more time to another sport. Was there a deal after this year to give him the baseball back? I think your understanding is the 'face' saving version. Were there is smoke.....