UPDATE: Showdown at Board of Education Meeting Tonight?
Tonight's agenda item regarding high school athletic stipends proposes hiring Patrick Dorney to replace current coach Joseph McLoughlin for 2012-13.
Although an official agenda had not yet been released at press time*, tonight's meeting of the Collingswood Board of Education will mostly likely include some action on the status of Collingswood High School (CHS) boys' basketball coch Joseph McLoughlin.
At the May 2012 Board meeting, McLoughlin's name was not among a proposed list of coaches to be approved for the 2012-13 school year.
The item would have replaced McLoughlin with Patrick Dorney, who has coached men's basketball coach at Arcadia University for eight years. Dorney was also an assistant CHS boys' varsity coach from 1995-2000, at least part of which tenure was spent under McLoughlin.
After significant public comment, including testimonials from McLoughlin's former players and parents of his students, the Board voted to table the measure until tonight's meeting.
In the time since, supporters of the coach have openly questioned the possible reasons for replacing McLoughlin, who has made no public comment, and in the absence of any details, speculation and resentment have festered.
Collingswood resident Blackwell Albertson alleged publically that McLoughlin was being squeezed by some secret order to play more white players. David White, father of 2011 varsity basketball player Julian Welsh-White, posited that a wealthy alumnus could have threatened to pull money from athletic scholarships unless things changed. Morris Smith, McLoughlin's assistant coach this year, said that he couldn't picture any performance-based reason for McLoughlin's removal as coach.
Throughout it all, Superintendent Scott Oswald has maintained that the desicion is his alone, that it is based upon his concerns with the way McLoughlin handled certain situations, and that he shared those concerns with the coach and his teacher's union representative.
Whatever happens, Welsh-White says, he and his teammates, who plan to attend the meeting, will be glad to have some answers.
“We all want to know the real reason," he told Patch Sunday. "I feel that’s why people are starting to make up (things).”
Albertson, the most vehement and vocal of McLoughlin's supporters, still upholds that he never saw the coach do anything worthy of having his position taken away.
"The real people who should be removed are the [CHS] athletic director [Ronald Hamrick] and the principal [Ed Hill]," he said.
*UPDATE: The official agenda for tonight's meeting has been published on the Board of Education website. Item 12.24, which concerns the assignment of athletic stipends for the 2012-13 school year, submits Dorney for consideration as the CHS boys' basketball coach.
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