Nov 22, 2011 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
In front of a standing-room-only crowd in the meeting room at the school district office, with television cameras rolling, print journalists feverishly taking notes and football team players silently waiting, the Skaneateles Board of Education officially accepted Lakers football head coach Tim Green’s resignation on Nov. 15.
Member Thomas Lambdin cast the sole ‘no’ vote in the 6-1 decision, saying he felt the opposing side of the issue needed to be represented in the record.
The board then unanimously appointed assistant football coach Joe Sindoni as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2011-12 school year. The district will hire a new, permanent head coach “as quickly after the end of the season as makes sense,” said district athletic director Stacey Tice.
The acceptance of Green’s resignation marks the probable end of a tumultuous and divisive period in Skaneateles high school football history, after the undefeated Lakers were suspended from play by Section III Athletics for illegal recruitment practices by coaches, and two subsequent state judges upheld the decision.
The ban prevented the Lakers from playing in the sectional championship game in the Carrier Dome on Nov. 7.
At the Nov. 15 board meeting, nearly 100 people attended to witness the final action in the football saga and have one last say to the school board on the topic.
Twenty members of the football team submitted a petition to the board asking it to reject Green’s resignation and keep him on as head coach. The petition, read aloud to the board by Lambdin, stated that Green was a positive influence on the players and always urged them to keep school and family as higher priorities than football.
Community member and football player parent Happy McClurg said she respected both Tim Green and the members of the school board, and she wished the entire affair could have been taken care of privately, rather than so publicly. She suggested the board should apologize to the players for taking away their sectional championship opportunity, but also thanked the board for their service, saying, “This is still the best school [in the area].”
Resident Melissa Moonan said she was concerned about the cost of the football program investigation and how that would affect academic funding in the district.
Resident and member of the Skaneateles Football Club John Logan criticized the board for the actions it took against the high school football program, saying, “We’ve watched the kids accomplishments fall apart.”
Logan recommended the board make a public statement to clear the names of all assistant football coaches not involved in the recruiting, and that the board hire all those uninvolved coaches immediately.
District Athletic Director Stacey Tice recommended that Sindoni be hired as interim head coach to close out the season and do the necessary player exit interviews, equipment inventory and award nominations.
“I’d like a person who’s knowledgeable on all the athletes” and who can be a “go-to person” for the administration for the final tasks, Tice said.
Tice added that she knows there is “much work we need to do” to improve the appointment process for future coaches – not just for the football program, but for all sports.
“I will work with the administration as soon as possible for new procedures and policies to be put in place. We want a coherent plan that will benefit the athletes as well as the programs,” Tice said.
School Board President Evan Dreyfuss said that the district “shortly” will take some formal action to recognize the accomplishments of its student athletes, not just of the football program, but from all sports.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.