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School board reinstates lacrosse assistant coach positions

— At the board’s Oct. 21 meeting, a cadre of lacrosse coaches, players, parents and supporters showed up to urge the board to replace the eliminated assistant coaching funds. Their arguments not only concerned the possible weakening of a highly respected, winning and state-recognized lacrosse program, but also continued to center around the concerns of effective coaching, player supervision and player safety that only one paid coach can offer to a team of 30 athletes.

District Athletic Director Mike Byrnes told the board at that meeting that he believed he could find the $10,000 needed to fund the positions by a reevaluation of all coaching positions in the district, and he urged the board to reinstate the two lacrosse assistant coaching positions.

Board President Pat Vogl asked Byrnes to submit his reevaluation and figures for finding that extra $10,000 in his coaching costs to the board before its Nov. 18 meeting so members could make a final decision on the issue.

Superintendent Bob Dubik said that he and Byrnes looked through the coaching rosters and were able to find $7,900 in savings due to the “breakage” from the hiring of new coaches. The district also will be reimbursed $2,450 from the state’s Section III Athletics for certain costs associated with Cazenovia teams participating in state tournaments, Dubik said. That total $10,350 will be enough to pay for the projected $9,900 cost of reinstating the lacrosse positions, he said.

Board Member Karin Marris asked the board whether, if safety is such a concern for the boys lacrosse team that it needed more assistant coaches, shouldn’t the safety of the girls lacrosse athletes be considered as well?

Vogl said yes, and recommended that next year the board review all district sports teams, boys and girls, for the appropriate number of coaches per team and the safety issues involved per sport. Board Member Leigh Baldwin agreed, and said that such a “comprehensive review” was a good idea not only for safety issues but also for district liability issues.

District Assistant Superintendent Bill Furlong told the board that the district had planned to do such a review next year anyway during the budget process.

The board voted unanimously to reinstate the two paid lacrosse assistant coaching positions, one for varsity and one for JV.

Varsity lacrosse coach Jim Longo said he was pleased by the board’s decision. He said the board deserves “a lot of credit” for listening to the concerns of the program and not just paying lip service to program supporters.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at editor@cazenoviarepublican.com.

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