A recent decision by the Westfield Board of Education has caused many, associated with the Westfield High School girls varsity basketball team, to holler "foul!"
The members of the board of education voted not to renew head coach Joe Marino's coaching contract. Why?
The board of education has decided that the team needs a new head coach and that despite Marino's proven success as a head coach, taking Westfield girls basketball from the basement of Union County basketball to a Union County Championship, appearances in state tournament play, multiple "1000" point career scorers, and recognition and respect amongst opponents, the board feels a change is necessary.
The fact of the matter is that politics has reared its ugly head and the players are the ones that will suffer the consequences of this decision, as will parents and fans alike.
It's been reported that Marino has the support of Westfield High School athletic director Sandy Mamary and Westfield Schools Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan. Coach Joe Marino is left to ask why, why now?
With the potential for Westfield High School girls basketball to rewrite the record books this year, again, what possessed the board of education to "yank" the carpet from under Marino's feet?
Rumors are surfacing that some parents are the culprits, not happy about their daughters playing time or lack thereof.
Three years ago I happened to be in the audience at a 9th grade baseball/softball meeting at Roosevelt Intermediate School when athletic director Mamary addressed all the parents in attendance. Mamary made it clear that town recreation teams were not run the way high school teams are run......at the high school level, winning counts. Everyone in attendance should have taken that to mean that to win games, the COACH will put the best team out on the floor, field, rink, mat, track, in the pool, or wherever else a game or competition takes place.........NOT the parents, teachers, school administration or even the board of education.
It appears that the board of education has taken over the coaching responsibilities and decisions of the Westfield High School girls basketball team. How long will it take before the perceived message that the board of education is sending, infiltrates the ranks of other Westfield High School sports parents? It appears that all they have to do is just pick up the phone and complain to the board of education.
Should I consider if a board of education candidate running for election has a son or daughter playing sports at the high school when I go to vote? I would hope, at least, any board member with a son or daughter playing a sport at the high school level would recuse themselves from any such vote to "can the coach."
Westfield High School has a list of successful and legendary coaches that include Clarkson, Kehler, Kapner, Donner, Brewster, Cherewich and others worthy of recognition, including Marino. What's wrong with a coach playing who he or she feels are his/her best players? Parents didn't think twice about questioning Gary Kehler or any other coach that was as successful.
What are parents teaching their children by complaining about playing time to the board of education and circumventing the athletic department?
An email message to members of the board of education, seeking an answer as to why Marino was dismissed was answered with "not able to comment on personnel matters." That's understandable given the manner in which the question was asked......via email.
Hopefully the answer will surface at the next board of education meeting and not through possible litigation.
I write this story/editorial as the father of a daughter that was cut during Westfield High School girls basketball tryouts three years ago. I have also chosen not to live vicariously through my daughter, a student/athlete at WHS.
"Let the fans cheer. Let the referees officiate. Let the players play. Let the coaches coach."