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Defenders of Joe McLoughlin Dominate Board Meeting, Allege Racism

A move to replace the long-time coach was condemned by parents and former players, who flooded the public comment portion of the meeting with testimonials.

In an evening that had been set aside for the recognition of Collingswood Teachers of the Year and the achievements of their students, the Board of Education instead heard a succession of testimonials in defense of boys' high school basketball coach Joseph McLoughlin.

After the awards were presented, supporters of McLoughlin appeared in droves to condemn an agenda item that would have replaced the long-term basketball coach.

The first and most inflammatory remarks were made by Collingswood resident Blackwell Albertson, the father of a developmentally disabled student who served as a water boy to the Panther basketball team.

Albertson alleged explicitly that McLoughlin was to be dismissed because he "would not follow the directives of this administration that his basketball team should reflect the complexion of the color of the skin of this town."

When asked to elaborate on what he meant in an interview after the meeting, he clarified, "Caucasian," and added, "the coach has it documented. It's on tape."

(Through Albertson, Collingswood Patch invited McLoughlin to confirm the existence of any such tapes, but did not receive an immediate response.)

"Racism is alive and well in the administration of ," Albertson later told news cameras from NBC-10. "It angers me mightily."

After Albertson's remarks, someone removed the microphone he had used for the public comment session. It was not replaced until Morris Smith, a Collingswood parent and attorney, asked that it be returned and re-activated.

Smith spoke later in the public comment session, imploring the board to reconsider its decision.

"Our staff may or may not know of all the repercussions that come with this," he said. Smith added that his own high school athletic director "at a rival high school" apologized to him as an adult, confessing that he had been directed in the 1970s "to keep kids from Lawnside off the team."

"It’s easy to take racial questions and concerns about racial issues and say that’s not really what it is," Smith said. "It’s important that you ask the hard questions."

After the meeting, Superintendent Scott Oswald said that he was sympathetic to the outpouring of support for McLoughlin, but he called the allegations of bias "disappointing."

"I find it interesting that this is an issue with basketball, when all these kids play all other sports," he said. "I have not heard [these allegations of racism] before tonight, until his position was threatened."

Oswald, who described the coach as "a great guy," and reminded reporters that McLoughlin was also a teacher of the year in 2010, said "I don't even think Joe would deny that I was his No. 1 fan."

In the end, however, Oswald said that the responsibility for making the choice not to re-hire McLoughlin came from no other authority than himself. Asked whether the decision was performance-related, Oswald said, "His win-loss record "is meaningless to me."

"My recommendation is based on what I witnessed," Oswald said, adding that he had "enough concerns" about McLaughlin's "handling of situations," that he notified the coach of his intentions to move on last Wednesday.

Eventually the agenda item was tabled for future discussion, at which time board President James Hatzell publicly backed his superintendent's play.

"First and foremost, as board members, we should not be getting involved in the day-to-day operations of making decisions," Hatzell said.

"I personally, and the board as a whole, generally places great weight in Dr. Oswald's recommendations, and this is a rarity, to be quite honest with you," he said.

"We'll put a great effort over the next month into getting the right decision here, and I don't know what that will be."

 

Did you or your kids play for Joseph McLoughlin? Contact Matt Skoufalos at matt.skoufalos@patch.com to share your story.

J June 01, 2012 at 07:04 PM
David and Porter, this is my last post on this topic, because as you, I'm disinterested in the actual firing. I'm more concern with the unconfirmed racial accusations. The superintendent clearly states when interviewed that he was never informed of any racial allegations that the coach plays too many "black kids." The coach is white mind you, if you were wondering David. So, if Oswald is doing the firing, where is the racial biased? Backers of the coach said they don't think Oswald is a racist. It sickens me that someone would go to that length to save a coaching job. I will bet you next year when this coach is replaced, the makeup of the team doesn't change one ounce. I hope for the kids sake and the community that the school board doesn't fray from their decision. As a minority myself, it saddens me that progress will be thwarted by a coward trying to save a high school basketball job. As, you stated earlier, if he is that great of a coach and mentor he will find greener grass..
Colls Bball 2004 June 02, 2012 at 01:16 AM
I am a collingswood Alumni 4 year starter in high school basketball for collingswood and a "Black" guy and J you are 100% correct. Ask CAmden Board of education they fired Coach Turner who is a legand in the state. You can win all you want when you do the worng things for so many years with out stoping it bites you in the butt... THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE...DEAL WITH IT PEOPLE
Lauren Burgoon June 02, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Hi davidbdale, The article reads: Eventually the agenda item was tabled for future discussion, at which time board President James Hatzell publicly backed his superintendent's play. ..... "We'll put a great effort over the next month into getting the right decision here, and I don't know what that will be." The board didn't take action on removing the coach. They will consider it again at their next meeting, scheduled for June 25.
Real 2004 BBALL player June 02, 2012 at 02:24 AM
I love when people post under fake names.Who are you cause you didn't play on 2004 team.I played and started and there were no four year starters on our team. Caught you in a lie. I don't have to give my race like you so that proves what color you really are. You can't stand the truth that's why you lie on here.The athletic director at that time looked at us like we didn't belong and we knew it then and know it now.It's sad that as a young man I WAS EXPOSED TO THAT.
Monko June 02, 2012 at 03:56 AM
I've just gotta say this - you're the second person on this thread who's complained about "people (who) post under fake names", and neither of you posted your name. That's funny, right?...so I could also say I played on the 2004 team, but I changed my name, which is actually SeriouslyForReal2004BBallPlayerLookItUp.
Monko June 02, 2012 at 04:06 AM
Nice acknowledgement davidbale, I could see that train heading off the tracks and was impressed that porterincollingswood actually went back, reread, and deleted. Nice talking with you, gentlemen.
Porterincollingswood June 02, 2012 at 04:15 AM
Who would be the 2nd person "complaining" about a fake name, if I can ask?
Monko June 02, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Well, actually, when you suggested that Monko was a fake name, I remember thinking that Porterincollingswood probably wasn't your given name, certainly not one that would identify you, but I wasn't gonna bust you for it or anything, I was just sort of amused that you were challenging my name.
Monko June 02, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Porterincollingswood, "complaining" was probably a poor choice of words, I think you suggested it was "cowardly", but no big deal.
Porterincollingswood June 02, 2012 at 05:33 AM
I hadn't met many people named Monko in my years, but everyone in my neighborhood was Irish so that shouldn't come as a surprise. So I didn't recognize it as a 'real' name - I probably know some O'Monko or McMonko people, though.
GFY June 02, 2012 at 10:44 PM
J. Just realized from your posts you're from Haddonfiled and therefore, all your posts are null and void. And obviously J is for Jerkoff.
Monko June 02, 2012 at 11:00 PM
C'mon GFY, play nice.
GFY June 02, 2012 at 11:03 PM
You know what GFY stands for? I never play nice. Gloves are off.
B June 02, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Because J has played nice? "What a loser" "Joe Mc Dumbass." Were all adults, no need for a peacemaker.
Monko June 02, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Ahaha, all right then, rumble on!
Jim June 05, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Why hasn't the Coach explained what the "issues" that Dr Oswald has refereed to?
bballfan June 05, 2012 at 04:00 AM
I watched the clip on Channel 10 and have read the recent articles as well as numerous articles from the past fourteen years on Coach McLoughlin; additionally, I have had the pleasure to be in audiences where he has received awards for his coaching, his teaching and his community efforts, alongside other great people from the our reputable tri-state area. I write as someone who has been involved with playing and coaching basketball as well as teaching high school and college students for the past forty years, but not someone who has ever blogged on any website, but I feel compelled to express my opinion in support of someone, whom I believe has not gotten a fair shake in his position. McLoughlin is a man of character, whose sole interest has been the advancement of his players and students on and off the court, hoping to best prepare them for real life. The sign of a terrific teacher/coach is someone who so selflessly gives so that others may succeed. From what I understand, McLoughlin left a lucrative sales position to teach and coach, wanting to give back, because he had gained from so many others, who had helped him along the way. McLoughlin chose to teach special education students, and his commitment to those students feeling successful outside the classroom is evident through his making those same students integral parts of his basketball program as team managers. I read one quote in the Courier Post in which a parent remarked that Coach McLoughlin(continued...)
bballfan June 05, 2012 at 04:18 AM
had no idea what he had done for their family. They continued, when their child was the "waterboy" for the team, he was at his happiest. And when he was at his happiest, the entire family was happy. Coach McLoughlin has consistently, year after year, dedicated hours upon hours towards the Cpllingswood basketball program. Even with raising his own family, he has been a mentor, a father, figure, and a mainstay in many of his players' lives beyond high school. He does more than coach the Xs and Os -- he is similar to so many great coaches of the past, who really got to know their players, problems and all, and he is determined to make a difference in their lives. I don't have statistics in front of me of how many players he has helped get into and if lucky enough, play in college, but knowing personally many of the area college coaches, I have heard numerous times how Coach McLoughlin goes above and beyond, and will go to bat for anyone he believes deserves an opportunity. If any of you have ever taught or coached, you would know that with these positions come support and criticism, not only when you are losing, but when you are winning on the basketball court, and whether you have been able to push your students to work at the best of their abilities in the classroom. it is a difficult feat to live through these careers unscathed(continued...)
bballfan June 05, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Finally, excuse my long-windedness in expressing myself on this forum, but to conclude: For the past fourteen years Coach McLoughlin has breeded successful students and successful athletes, and for anyone to diminish what he has done for so many in the Collingswood family would be completely wrong and unjustified. Thank you.
Sean Andrew June 05, 2012 at 12:17 PM
A week later and this stuff is still going on? Has anyone questioned that McLoughlin has done some great stuff for kids? Outside of the cheap shots, not many. So, McLoughlin is a good guy who has done some great stuff for kids. Wayne Bryant is a good guy who did some great stuff for the people of Camden County and Lawnside. He just couldn't follow the rules the rest of us are expected to follow. Rob Andrews wins election after election because he is a good guy who does good things for constituents. He is now having some alleged ethical issues of his own. He just can't follow the rules. Dare I mention Jerry Sandusky? Two years ago you could probably have found thousands of kids who would recount the good things he did for them. I don't think anyone would suggest McLoughlin's issues rise to the level of any of these people, but it seems something happened and maybe that something was a big enough deal to outweigh the good. Besides speculation on this blog, I'm not sure anyone knows what those things are and we probably never will. It's called privacy. So, can we stop with the stories, reasons, speculation? Collingswood is a great little town with a lot of great little town infighting. Maybe McLoughlin can be in charge of installing the Michael Landon plaque back into Knights park (sorry, bad ending, but that may have been the only more ridiculous story than this).
Monko June 05, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Sean Andrew, I'm actually glad that people, including yourself, are still discussing this "a week later". I'm not in a position to defend McGloughlin's "issues" because, like you, I don't know what they are. The only people who have suggested that he did anything unethical have been on this thread, or on the street. But until any facts are revealed, which may never happen, I don't have a problem with people expressing support for somebody they feel has done so much for their community. You suggest that he did something wrong when you say "it seems something happened and maybe that something was a big enough deal to outweigh the good." I was once in a position where I was being fired for refusing to do something unethical, borderline illegal. Your presumption would have been that if I was fired I must have done something wrong. My offense was to refuse to cheat the public, and my employer had the sense to retract their decision. At this point we don't know in what way McGloughlin was unwilling to comply with the administration, and if he's guilty of some wrong-doing then he undoubtedly should be let go. On the other hand, if he's being fired because he wouldn't comply with something he didn't feel was in the best interest of the kids and community, that would be misguided and, again, I applaud people who will stand up and show their support, even a week later. People treating their neighbors' misfortunes as their own is also part of what makes for a great little town.
Monko June 05, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Jerry Sandusky? Really? Come on, why not say everybody thought Charlie Manson was a good guy when he was providing shelter for teenage runaways, and how'd that work out?
Just Tell Them JOEEEE June 05, 2012 at 02:46 PM
PEOPLE LET ME BE THE ONE TO TELL YOU WHY HE IS BEING FIRED... HE WAS ILLEGALLY RECUITING CAMDEN KIDS INTO HIS PROGRAM FOR ONE YEAR. Mr. Filinuk A.K.A bball fan stop it with this mentoring kids crap. He won basketball games taht is all he did for colls basketball and those kids. In 13 years all those wins he mentor 2 kids into college for basketball. 1 of them Mann barnes parenst did such a great job that anyone could have coached that young man into college (even your son). Second kid McCargo is at stockton after his 4th school and basically did that on his own. I respect my elders so please do not take it personal Mr. Filinuk. Name me one dam kid he mentored that is doing something postive in community? Also can some one give me a game that Joe won where he was an underdog?
colls coach 97 June 05, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I am reading all this stuff and have to comment. I was coached by Coach McLoughlin and Coach Dorney when I was in High School and to be honest Coach Doyle who was the head coach deserves some credit for turning Collingswood basketball around. All 3 of those guys were very good coaches and teachers of the game of basketball. They took a program that was dead my freshman year to 3 straight South Jersey group 2 semi final games from 94 to 97. I also coached with Coach McLoughlin out of college for 3 years. I coached the 7th and 8th grade team for 2 years and freshman team for a year along with helping out the varsity program as well. Yes, Coach McLoughlin and myself did not leave on good terms and had diffrent views but I must say he played the kids that deserved to play white/black/spanish/whatever. He does care about the Collingswood program and the Collingswood kids that were apart of it good or bad. I bleed Blue and Gold and if Coach McLoughlin is the coach or Coach Dorney Colls basketball will thrive. Colls Coach class of 1997
Theresa Aitken June 05, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Joe McLoughlin is more than a good coach. An asset to Collingswood-a friend & mentor to his students. Colls needs him!!!
Parent June 05, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Enough of this bigotry from people like you.I will not stand for this and have seen it for many years.'Just tell them Joe" says exactly what I have seen and heard all these years.Not only are you degrading players, Coach Mcl but you are attacking our families who are proud of our children and others have accomplished as a member of the basketball team.When people like you don't want to face the truth you make up LIES.I can name many players besides the ones you mentioned who received scholarships because of their abilities, brains and Coach Mcl's help.I have spent so many years watching him help kids when they were in some of the worst situations.It has nothing to do with basketball but the real job of an educator.Yes to help kids.Your question.Name a game where they won as a underdog. We beat Cinnaminson in 2008 who was #1 in SJ.I could name many others but dont have to prove my point.People like you disgust me cause you make up LIES to avoid the TRUTH. Your comment about Darnell McCargo tells exactly how you are a bigot.He is one of the nicest young men that I have ever met and you sarcastically say his 4th school which isn't TRUE. He is in school bettering himself and you look to tear him down.Why degrade a young man who represented our team,school and community in an great manner?Last year alone there were over 8 kids that were playing college basketball.I hear what you are about loud and clear and will not stand for it anymore.
J June 07, 2012 at 01:34 PM
here we go again blacks its always race collingswood high going to hell needs to be fix i think all sports need to be cut from school until all grades are up "o" i'm sorry maybe we keep basketball we don't what to be in a race to call AL AND JACKSON ON ME
Monko June 07, 2012 at 01:46 PM
?
GFY June 07, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Damn, J! Did you just fall down on your keyboard? There's not even a complete sentence there. You may be suffering a mild stroke.
Colls teacher June 22, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Colls Bball 2004 you are a liar. Maybe you are J. Look at the yearbooks from 2000 - 2004 You are not there!!

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