Braintree lost the best basketball coach in the state yesterday when Kristen McDonnell resigned. The indication is that she no longer wanted to deal with some of the parents.
Everybody is shocked that she stepped down, but the reason isn’t shocking at all. It isn’t exclusive to Braintree, but how unreasonable are (some of) the parents there if this is true?
Winning isn’t everything in high school sports, but everything is more fun when you win. No program has had more fun winning over the past decade or so than Braintree.
Let’s put winning aside for a second. Braintree had an energetic, talented and passionate coach that built the Wamp girls hoops culture on making relationships and memories. If you look through the @BHSWampsBball twitter account, managed by Kristen McDonnell, you will see endless tweets from her praising past, present and future Wamps. You get a glimpse into how she mixes it up during practices with fun events for the girls such as Survivor Day and building an all-male scout team to get the Wamps ready for tough Bay State and D1 competition. What student-athlete wouldn’t want to be part of program like this? The next person I meet that has a negative thing to say about Kristen will be the first one. Why in the world would any parent want to force her out the door?
Varsity coaches don’t make a life changing stipend. Most get into high school coaching because they recognize how important high school sports are and want to create memories and instill values for the players in their program. And of course, coaches want to win. Coaches put in more hours than most will ever comprehend towards building a winning program, but there’s only so much one can take.
Some parents are really good at ruining a good thing. When one accepts a varsity coaching job it is understood that criticism comes with the territory, but there is a threshold where the coach asks himself or herself: “Is this still worth it?” I’ve been there.
The tragedy is that 90% of the time, the player is a pleasure to coach. Massachusetts is polluted with Lavar Ball, Richard Williams and Todd Marinovich wannabees that insist on living vicariously through their children and I hope Kristen’s resignation is an eye-opener to the state that something needs to be done about it.
What can be done about outspoken parents that ruin high school athletics? I think athletic directors and school administrators need to put their heads together and come up with a statewide standard for parental behavior with specific consequences.
Perhaps parents need to participate in a preseason behavioral workshop before each season and sign an oath to not be a disruptive blowhard. Consequences include ejection from game, suspension from games and ultimately removal of son/daughter from team. Nothing is going to change without consequences.
As a coach, you can have that individual sport preseason meeting and go over player and parental expectations and just hope that everyone complies because you have faith in humanity. Unfortunately, coaches need assurances and protection because there will always be parents that are cancerous dinks.
Hopefully this Braintree situation ignites the discussion about what to do with unruly parents. If the best coach in the state can be pushed past her breaking point, then nobody is immune to this. Good luck to the person that has to fill her shoes.
Congratulations to one of the truly good guys in AAU girls basketball, Pat Russell, on the formation of his new club - NEX Elite.
Russell has been associated with the Bay State Magic for over a decade, but has decided to venture on his own using his NEXbball moniker.
Russell has coached multiple Bay State Magic Elite teams and has helped place girls in college at the D1, D2 and D3 level. NEXbball hosts a heavily attended and high competitive tournament in the fall at Roger Williams University and in the spring at Wheaton College.
Boys Varsity League Leaders – Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Boys Tim Prunier, Franklin 26 Nick Baskin, Mansfield 25 Ben Smith, King Philip 24 Lahart, Xaverian 19 Kyle Swansburg, Mansfield 18 Pete Williams, Franklin White 18 Keyshad Dixon, Braintree 17 Alex DuBrow, Foxboro 17 Ben Smith, King Philip 17 Koneski, D-R 16 Boulter, Mansfield 15 Mark Clagg, Foxboro 15 Kyle Healey, Walpole 15 Friberg, North Attleboro 15 Prouo Poufong, Attleboro 15 Williams, Medfield 15 Brent Doherty, North Attleboro 14 Noah Goodwin, King Philip 14 Kelley, Oliver Ames 13 Chad Peterson, North Attleboro 13 Hart, D-R 12 Johnson, Medfield 12 Carter, Oliver Ames 11 Lowell, Medfield 11 Madej, Medfield 11 Welch, Oliver Ames 11 Zonfrelli, Millis 11 Gillespie, Xaverian 10 Carter Burress, Millis 10 Graziano, Oliver Ames 10 Karger, Medfield 10 Noah Goodwin, King Philip 10 Andrew Milliken, Attleboro 10 Matt Peterson, Norton 10 Khristian Conner, Mansfield 9 Matt Elias, Franklin White 9 Logan Kenney, Franklin White 9 Matt Lowere, Sharon 9 Miller, Sharon 9 Aidan O’Grady, Braintree 9 Otto, Mansfield 9 Ike Sheppard, Walpole 9 Andrew Zola, Sharon 9 Andrew Block, Foxboro 8 Joe Collamore, Norton 8 Falcone, North Attleboro 8 Loranger, Medfield 8 Alex Mattie, Xaverian 8 Tom Madden, King Philip 8 Joe Sullivan, Foxboro 8 Adrien Costello, King Philip 7 Kyle Gaumond, North Attleboro 7 Paul Houlihan, Franklin 7 Latosek, Millis 7 Josh Macchi, Franklin 7 Silvia, D-R 7 Bryce Smith, Sharon 7 Troiano, Norton 7
Girls Lexi Hackett, Worcester Academy 28 Julia Strachan, North Attleboro 28 Abbie Phelan, Norton 21 Boston, Worcester Academy 20 Sarah Deyo, Attleboro 18 Jalani Jackson, Brockton 18 Pariseau, Worcester Academy 17 Cassidy Harrison, Foxboro 14 Maddie Murphy, Worcester Academy 14 Quinones, Stoughton 14 Meg Nichols, Norton 13 E. Liskov, Milford 13 Allen, Foxboro 12 Brown, Walpole 12 Dalzell, Brookline 12 Ainsley Jolin, Bishop Feehan 11 Brennan, Norton 10 Kate Irwin, Milford 10 Nika, Southeastern 10 Kiera Fernandes, Worcester Academy 10 Malling, Foxboro 10 Grace Tamulionis, Foxboro 10 Jerrier, Canton 9 Katlyn #14, Bishop Feehan 9 Morse, Franklin 9 Ashley Sampson, Foxboro 9 Broyles, Mansfield 8 Griffin, Walpole 8 Abbie Kurtzer, Norton 8 Bridget Lanchester, Walpole 7 Sam Pierce, Attleboro 7 Foley, Canton 7
Boys Tim Prunier, Franklin 31 Chad Peterson, North Attleboro 24 Kelley, Oliver Ames 20 Timberlake, Braintree 19 Alex DuBrow, Foxboro 18 #22, Dighton-Rehoboth 18 #16, Oliver Ames 17 Albanese, Mansfield 17 Friberg, North Attleboro 17 Friberg, North Attleboro 16 Stephen Hamerski, Attleboro 15 Washburn, Walpole 15 Jake Dunkley, Attleboro 14 #21, Dighton-Rehoboth 14 Dunkley, Attleboro 14 Poufong, Attleboro 14 Shepard, Walpole 14 Max Galluccio, Franklin 13 Rob Lowey, Foxboro 13 Joe Collamore, Norton 12 Ryan Brown, Norton 12 Graziano, Oliver Ames 12 Goldberg, Mansfield 12 Mahoney, Braintree 12 Ryan Brown, Norton 11 Brent Doherty, North Attleboro 11 Mahoney, Oliver Ames 11 Nick Baskin, Mansfield 10 Luke Esty, Walpole 10 Conooy, Braintree 10 Boucicaut, Attleboro 9 Smith, King Philip 9 Madden, King Philip 9 Mitchell Sirota, Sharon 9 Sagar Desai, Millis 9 Gill, Franklin 8 Hodgkins, Franklin 8 Goodwin, King Philip 7 Carter Burress, Millis 7 Brent Doherty, North Attleboro 7 Ricardo Ripley, Sharon 7
Girls Herbert, Sharon 17 Julia Kleczowski, North Attleboro 13 Eliza Dion, North Attleboro 12 Taylor Buther, King Philip 11 Julia, Mansfield 10 Maher, Mansfield 9 Liz Buron, North Attleboro 8 Katie Courtney, Franklin 8 Kelly, Mansfield 8 Lyons, Medfield 8 Hottleman, Mansfield 7
Boys Bryant Ciccio, Attleboro 15 Chris Edgehill, Franklin 15 Drew Plunkett, Medway 14 Garzon, Millis 13 Giffen, Mansfield 13 Katz, Westborough 12 Matt Achin, Mansfield 12 #23, Medway 12 Eustay, Canton 11 Gomez, Attleboro 11 Richmond, Westborough 11 #00, Attleboro 11 Jason Comeau, Mansfield 11 Elon, Hopkinton 11 Mors, Franklin 76ers 11 Michael O’Neil, Mansfield 11 Badger, Westborough 10 Cameron, Attleboro 10 Ellis, North Attleboro 10 Gasabarro, Cumberland 10 Kayberry, Cumberland 10 Pacheco, Franklin 10 Bryant, North Attleboro 9 #20, Franklin 9 #14, Franklin 9 #35, Franklin 9 Patrick Spellman, Mansfield 8 Cunningham, Franklin 8 #1, Medway 8 Fitzgerald, Canton 8 McGowan, Canton 8 #23, Mansfield 8 Lucas Ascoli, Mansfield 7 Maffion, Hopkinton 7 Young, Cumberland 7