Coaches should be concentrating on developing young women and men, teaching them valuable lessons that transfer far from the field/court/pool to provide them the basis from which student athletes become productive, contributing members of their community. Team sports allows for such growth, but coaches need to be able to coach without worrying about whether their voice is too loud, or whether one particular player with influential parents played enough, etc.
Hard work + ability should equal success. Coaches should play the best player for the given situation/game. However, we are getting closer to a place where coaches must consider outside, negative implications of not playing an athlete, as opposed to the best results for the best team. Parents can effectively bombard an administration with frivolous and false allegations and force their sense of entitlements on to the coach.
Unfortunately, in our small community, this is happening right now with our girls' lacrosse program. For those of you not in Upstate NY, the BH-BL lacrosse program is still relatively young (approximately 12 years old). Our head coach Jake McHerron, took over a fledgling program only two years after it began and within ten years the varsity program has won five sectional championships, and were state semi-finalists twice. Plus, he has worked tirelessly to establish our youth program. This year he brought on a veteran hof women's lacrosse profossional, Marylou Vosburgh. With a combined coaching passion, and history that would rival most D1 programs, Coach McHerron and Coach Vosburgh began this season like all others, pushing their team to be the strongest and to do their best. Their position has always been that there are no entitlements in life or in sports. A player may have been in a particular position last year, or even yesterday, but life demands constant work as there is always someone working harder. This year that became an issue for a very small number of parents. Not getting into the details, because players are not responsible for their parent's actions, but after our last game before Sectionals, some parents decided to launch a coordinated attack on Coach McHerron and Coach Vosburgh. They went so far as calling current and past players' parents asking if they would write letters to bombard the school district with complaints about the "culture" of the team. They succeeded at doing this within 24hrs so they could "blindside" (their exact words) both coaches, and take the school district administration by surprise, forcing a strong – but negative – reaction.
As hard as this is for us, as longtime community members, to write and even believe our school district caved to the onslaught of allegations and put our coaches on administrative leave, we have to do something to kill this national epidemic of weakening the competitive spirit that makes high school sports such a contributing factor in the success of our athletes. To add fuel to our fire, this happened the week before Sectionals with our team as the top seed. After a "thorough and thoughtful" investigation (five days) the administration did not find any evidence worthy of termination, or any disciplinary action, but advised both Coach McHerron and Coach Vosburgh that they just needed a "break" for the rest of the season so things could calm down. To provide some perspective, allegations came from 11 people (5-6 families). When they where put on administrative leave, hundreds of letters in support of Jake and Marylou poured in to the district - from current and past parents and players, as well as other coaches. We are sure, that once this GoFundMe page gets out there, people will be more than happy to share their letters and posts through social media, but it is not our role to push their individual stories – we believe that the truth always comes out and will through this initial launch.
We want to help Coach McHerron and Coach Vosburgh fight the allegations of this angry minority and provide a blue-print for other coaches to fight should this ever happen in your community. We can’t just sit by and watch as the integrity of competitive sports in high schools and colleges erodes away. Coaches need to be able to coach, to win, to develop tomorrow's leaders. If we continue to allow disgruntled parents to have a voice and seat above that to whom we train and pay to coach our kids, we may as well remove the bleachers from the sidelines and have a communal game where everyone gets equal time, regardless of ability or ethic, and the parents are running the substitution boxes. Practices can consist of running to the point where the athlete feels they are done, and they can come and go as they please as long as they make an effort. We say this in jest, but isn't that what we are staring in the face of? Did any of you ever consider a time where a coach could be disciplined for making a team run laps for not following directions? Well, it's here, go ahead and google it. We want it to stop, and we want it to stop now.
Here is where you can help: Both coaches have retained an attorney. This legal journey will start with a Name Clearing Hearing, but it may go further. As you all know, coaches do not make a lot of money, and Jake's and Marylou's life and passion is coaching. We are starting this GoFundMe campaign in hopes of raising enough money to fulfill their retainer fees and more. We are also hoping this campaign will reach a larger, national audience so that we can begin a true dialogue regarding the roles of coaches in our children's lives, and how the well-intentioned parent should parent and allow the coaches to coach. Unfortunately, we are aware that this campaign will bring attention to our community. We don't take this lightly. However, we need to stand together in support of our coaches. So please contribute to this fight and better yet, this cause – you can contribute as little or as much as you can, you can leave your name with a message, or contribute anonymously – either way you should know that your contribution will go directly to this legal battle to help stop this madness we are in the midst of across our nation.
Coaches are being attacked by parents using bullying tactics aimed at promoting their children, not the development of strong teams. It’s time to fight back.
Let Coaches Coach!
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