read about how this coach got fired and let me know what you think…

3 Responses to “read about how this coach got fired and let me know what you think…”

  1. April 26, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Copyright 2011 Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC
    All Rights Reserved
    The Philadelphia Inquirer

    April 22, 2011 Friday
    CITY-C Edition

    SECTION: LOCAL NEWS SPORTS; Inq High School Sports; Pg. C11

    HEADLINE: Haverford needs to do away with online critiques;
    The anonymous evaluations may have caused the demise of hoops coach Terry McNichol.

    BYLINE: By Lou Rabito; Inquirer Columnist

    Terry McNichol deserved better.

    McNichol was fired last month after 15 seasons as boys’ basketball coach at Haverford High, the apparent victim of anonymous evaluations filled out by players and, ostensibly, their parents.

    Three evaluators voiced complaints about McNichol, he said he learned from principal Jeffrey Nesbitt. McNichol refutes all the accusations against him.

    The online surveys, implemented in 2009, should never have been introduced.

    District superintendent William Keilbaugh asked parents in a letter to take the surveys. Players filled them out when they turned in their uniforms.

    The evaluations were designed, according to the forms, “to obtain information and comments from parents and student athletes regarding their experiences with coaches.” They asked players and parents to rate coaches’ performances in areas such as communicating with students and demeanor.

    If that seems harmless, consider this: Because the evaluations were anonymous, people could write without accountability. Some athletes and their parents can be delightfully objective. Others can be influenced by negative factors – say, their (or their child’s) lack of playing time.

    Worse, the surveys weren’t password-protected. So anyone, including a player who had been cut from the team, could have gone online and filled out one – or two or six.

    In essence, the district gave the online universe carte blanche to criticize McNichol and any other Fords coach.

    Nesbitt and athletic director Joann Patterson did not respond to an interview request. Keilbaugh said the district doesn’t discuss personnel issues. Regarding the basketball team, Keilbaugh said only that the district wanted to go in a different direction and thanked McNichol for his service.

    Haverford recently removed the surveys from its website. Keilbaugh said they are activated and deactivated seasonally. He added that “controls are in place to allow athletes’ parents to log in to complete the survey.”

    The use of the anonymous surveys raises questions.

    Did school administrators make sure that the critical surveys came from legitimate sources? Did they confirm the accuracy of any allegations with other people? Were coaches allowed to defend themselves against accusations before any decisions were made?

    Asked these questions in an e-mail, Keilbaugh replied, “The surveys are but one piece of the total picture in evaluating our programs. . . . The survey responses provide feedback that allows the administration to receive and address concerns and questions. . . . Certainly, if we receive allegations of improper conduct from a survey or any other source, we would investigate, including interviews with involved parties.”

    McNichol said he was not given that opportunity.

    He was told, he said, that half of the six evaluations that he believed came from parents were negative. If all 21 junior-varsity and varsity players filled out surveys, then only three of the 27 respondents would have complained.

    One of the surveys alleged that McNichol had represented the school district poorly because he whined too much to officials. Another said he had cursed at a player. One accused him of not working enough on team-building.

    McNichol said he told Nesbitt that the team had finished second in voting for the Central League sportsmanship award and that he was asked to speak before the Delaware County chapter of the PIAA referees. Would either have happened, McNichol asked, had he been a whiner?

    (Another question: Shouldn’t Haverford administrators be aware if a coach whines too much at games, without input from parents?)

    As to the other accusations, McNichol said that he hollers but doesn’t curse at players – seniors Conor Walsh and Eric Falasco, three-year varsity players, echoed that sentiment – and that his team participated in Operation Santa for the underprivileged and raised money for Haiti and for Coaches vs. Cancer.

    McNichol is one of two Haverford coaches whose contracts have not been renewed by the district since the school year started. Boys’ soccer coach Jorge Severini was let go after 22 seasons.

    (Boys’ ice hockey coach Brian Cleary and girls’ ice hockey coach Kelly Winther also have been dismissed; hockey, though, is a club sport run by a separate board, not the school district.)

    Severini, 63, went 222-115-57 in his 22 seasons with Haverford. Asked if he thought the evaluations played a role in his dismissal, he said only that “I don’t think I was treated in the way that I should have after so many years in the school.”

    McNichol, 51, who has his own financial-planning business, concedes that he lost more games than he won as Haverford coach. But he said Patterson and Keilbaugh told him that wins and losses didn’t factor in the decision.

    That makes it tougher for McNichol to make sense of the decision to fire him.

    “I still don’t know why, and probably will never know why,” he said.

    McNichol learned from Patterson on March 28 that he was being let go. After discussions with her, Nesbitt, and Keilbaugh, McNichol stated his case at a school board meeting April 7. Several people spoke in support of him, including Bobbi Morgan, Haverford College women’s basketball coach and mother of Haverford High basketball player Patrick Morgan.

    “He’s one of those guys that you want your kid to play for,” Bobbi Morgan said last week.

    Morgan, who graduated from Haverford High, coached girls’ basketball there for 14 years and said it was awkward to get mad at the school because “I don’t speak more highly of any other place,” criticized the use of the anonymous evaluations.

    “A blind survey is just crazy. . . . It’s really a scary evaluation tool,” she said.

    If the school district ever learns that lesson, it will be too late for McNichol.

    He deserved better.

    After 15 years, Haverford owed him more than a mere thanks and goodbye.

    Contact staff writer Lou Rabito

    at 215-854-2916

    or rabitol@phillynews.com.

  2. April 26, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    But wait…there’s more…


    This time it is girls’ ice hockey coach Kelly Winther, after Haverford’s firings of the boys’ ice hockey, soccer and basketball coaches. All were subject to anonymous surveys. Says one student: “I don’t understand what is happening in this school.”

    By Anthony Leone and Joseph Santoliquito

    A source close to the Haverford Ice Hockey Club contacted the Haverford-Havertown Patch to state that another coach has been fired and it may have been due to favoritism.

    This comes after a number of already high profile firings. The Haverford High School boys’ soccer coach Jorge Severini got the boot last winter, followed by the high school boys’ basketball coach Terry McNichol this spring, and then Haverford Ice Hockey Club boys’ coach Brian Cleary last Friday.

    Now Kelly Winther, head of the highly successful girls’ ice hockey club, is the latest coach to go down associated with Haverford High School.

    “We’re all wondering what is going on here,” said Brielle Jones, one of Winther’s assistant coaches.

    Winther confirmed with Patch that she found out last Friday, April 15, that she was fired, without any explanation and the leading reason stated was a poor evaluation on an anonymous coaching survey.

    Anonymous surveys are believed to be the leading reasons for the firings of Severini, McNichol and Cleary.

    It should be noted that the Haverford Ice Hockey Club, to which Cleary and Winther were a part of, is not directly affiliated to Haverford High School, though the school does recognize the players as varsity athletes, yet do not award the players with a Haverford High School varsity letter. The Haverford Ice Hockey Club is a private organization not funded by Haverford High School nor funded by the Haverford School District.

    What makes Winther’s dismissal more unique than the other three coaches is that Winther currently teaches in the Haverford School District, at the middle school. Because of that, she opted not to speak publicly about the matter any further than saying she was disappointed.

    However, a source closed to the situation gives further insights into what might have gotten Winther fired.

    “I believe that Kelly was fired because she did not pay a certain player any accolades. The player in question started complaining to her parents and any one else who would listen and rallied a couple of other players to complain to their parents as well,” the source, who wished to remain anonymous, told Patch.

    The female player is allegedly the daughter of one of the board members of the club, the source revealed, but the source would not name the girl or the board member because of fear of retribution.

    Board members oversee the Haverford Ice Hockey Club.

    Despite being a “great” player, the girl was not chosen to be team captain and started to “butt heads” with Winther, the source stated, adding that other parents and even some board members allegedly started to complain about how uncooperative she was.

    “The board member’s daughter had definite attitude problems and was referred to as a ‘cancer’ on the team. As good as a player as she was she should have been kicked off, long before the coach,” the source revealed.

    Because of this, the board member allegedly started to complain about Winther and wanted Winther fired back in October of 2010, but some board members objected to this, the source stated.

    During a February meeting of this year the board decided that surveys, which one of them accompanies this article, would be sent out by March to parents to evaluate, among other things, the coaches of the various leagues. The surveys were returned to the Haverford Ice Hockey Club this April.

    About eight surveys came back regarding Winther and about half of them were allegedly positive about her and the other half were negative, according to the source, stating that surveys played a key part in the dismissals of the two coaches at the club.

    Because there were complaints against Clearly over the years and a complaint about Winther was brought to the board in the fall, the board had a discussion regarding the two coaches and allegedly came to the conclusion that it would look suspicious if it fired Winther after one grievance and not Cleary, who had many complaints against him, the source declared.

    The source voiced the opinion that Cleary was “sacrificed” in order to get Winther fired.

    “I believe the writing was on the wall for both after that,” the source stated. “I don’t really believe the surveys were the cause, I believe they were the convenient excuse. Let’s face it, you can manipulate results any way you want to. …”

    “Coach W. did not deserve to be let go and did nothing to warrant it. I think Winther was thrown under the bus,” the source stated.

    The Haverford Ice Hockey Club’s surveys were used before the results came out about the two high school coaches, the source stated, adding that the school district has nothing to do with the ice hockey team.

    “The surveys were sent out independently and I think it is just a coincidence that this all came to fruition at the same time,” the source stated regarding the closeness of the firings at the club and high school. “There will be a new board voted on in May and hopefully they won’t use the surveys again. This was the first year they were used.

    “We’re hoping people will come out to the May 17 meeting and talk. Hopefully the new board will reinstate Kelly and Brian.”

    In two years, Winther directed the Lady Fords to the InterCounty Scholastic Hockey League championship in their inaugural season last year, and guided the Lady Fords back to the league championship again this season, where they lost to Unionville.

    Though Winther, on vacation, was not in a position to speak, there were a few people who were more than willing to speak up for her, and about just what is going on with coaches associated with Haverford High School.

    “It bothered me what happened to Coach Winther, she’s an amazing coach,” said Haverford senior Lindsay Baker, a multi-sport varsity athlete at Haverford who played for the ice hockey team and will be attending Virginia Wesleyan next fall to play field hockey. “I was confused and angry that it happened. I liked Coach Winther. No one had an issue with her—in front of her face.

    “What I have a problem with is that I don’t understand what is happening in this school right now. If coaches are doing a good job, why are they being let go? We were a new team last year and we won a league championship. I played with a bunch of girls I got along with and for a coach we all loved. It had to do with the surveys. I don’t agree with these anonymous surveys. I know the guys loved the ice hockey coach, I know the basketball team loved their coach, and the guys on the soccer team loved their coach. No one has asked for our input, other than those surveys.”

    Winther’s assistant coaches, Brielle Jones and Dan Mariani, whose daughter, Leah, was on the team, were just as baffled. They were confused over the fact that the girls program was successful, yet it seems Winther’s fate came down to a few disgruntled parents.

    “I don’t see any real reason behind it,” Jones said. “The girls appreciated her. I never heard anything from any of the girls, and I was the good cop, I was an assistant. I would like to coach somewhere else, but I won’t ever want to go back to Haverford, that’s for sure. I’d definitely like to stay with Kelly. It’s kind of terrifying that if you’re a coach, do you want to come to Haverford and coach here?”

    Mariani has lived across the street from McNichol. He saw the time commitment and dedication he put into the boys’ basketball program, and followed suit himself in coaching various hockey teams—one time coaching four clubs at once. Mariani stressed that it’s not about the money, or the small acclaim that comes with coaching.

    He said it was about the passion for sports and helping young people. Mariani, who also works for Haverford Township, wanted to make sure not all Haverford parents should be branded with the same “difficult” label. In fact, it is a scant minority that seems to be garnering the attention, he noted.

    “I really don’t think this area will get a bad knock, because good parents are seeing what’s happening and they’re speaking up about it,” Mariani said. “With what is going on right now, would anyone want to coach in Haverford? I know I don’t like what’s going on. I think the evaluation process stinks. Kelly was a good coach. I think she at least deserved an explanation and possibly another chance. I enjoyed coaching with her for two years.”

    Repeated phone calls and emails sent to the Haverford Ice Hockey Club and its president, Dave Martin, by Patch have not been returned.

  3. April 28, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    Is this a bad month for coaches or what??

    Is there something rotten in the state of Lauralton Hall girls basketball?
    Officially, no.
    First-year coach Alessa Laczkoski learned last week that her contract won’t be renewed after finishing 20-6 and earning a place in the SWC finals, with school officials citing an illegal practice held on a snow day as the reason she won’t return. That’s the official, on-the-record reason.
    Yet, below the surface, it certainly seems a tad odd that a school would part ways with a young, successful coach after one season for a minor infraction, especially when you remember it fired its previous coach — Steve Schuler — midway through the 2009-10 season for reasons which remain murky to this day.
    “I was shocked and couldn’t believe it happened,” one SWC coach said when contacted this week, expressing the general feeling of the league’s coaches. “I’m not quite sure how someone could get fired for a first offense, if that’s actually what happened.”
    So what exactly did happen between the time Lauralton’s season ended in the Class LL quarterfinals with a 60-47 loss to Mercy on March 10 to Laczkoski’s dismissal on April 19, during a school vacation?
    Again — officially — nothing aside from an unauthorized late-season shootaround suddenly being deemed a fireable offense.
    Laczkoski, to her credit, took the high road, saying she didn’t agree with the decision to let her go, but said she wouldn’t fight it either, calling it a difference in philosophy.
    “I felt like there was something else but (school officials) wouldn’t say. I’m sure there were other things,” she said last week. “Were their parents involved, I don’t know.”
    Ah, the dreaded P-word — parents — who might as well be the proverbial bogeymen lurking in the shadows when it comes to all high school sports.
    How much influence do parents wield at Lauralton Hall — or with any high school sports team, for that matter? Do parents have all the power behind the scenes to make the moves at some or all schools? And in a case like Lauralton Hall, when parents are paying over $10,000 a year for tuition, should they (rightly or wrongly) feel entitled to have some decision over their daughters’ athletic coaches?
    The natural inclination, when an otherwise winning coach abruptly gets kicked to the curb without some sort of extracurricular scandal, is to think the parents helped pushed the coach out.
    Was that type of scenario in play with Laczkoski?
    “Parents had nothing to do with the decision,” Lauralton Hall athletic director Nicolle Camara said Tuesday night by phone. “Look at our other sports, our coaches have been there forever. We want somebody who’ll be there long-term.”
    If it wasn’t parents and only a minor infraction that got a first-year coach with a seemingly bright future ousted, you have to wonder who would actually want to take over at Lauralton Hall, despite a talented returning roster that includes Connecticut Post All-Stars Nicola Matero and Olivia Levey? Doesn’t it seem as though whoever the next coach is, they’re getting hired to get fired given the school’s recent track record? Or at the very least, isn’t the next coach walking on eggshells and constantly looking over his or her shoulder wondering when the ax might fall?
    Then again, Camara said she already has five resumes on her desk without even posting the job.
    These candidates better know what they’re walking into even if — officially — we might never know what went sour with Laczkoski and Lauralton Hall beyond one practice on a snow day.
    “She’s a good kid and she got screwed,” an area coach said last week.
    At Lauralton Hall, let’s hope that doesn’t happen again.
    Reach Mike Cardillo at mcardillo@ctpost.com.

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