In those messages, Oswald called himself McLoughlin’s “number 1 supporter,” but admits to “considering asking” the coach “to take a year off” in 2013.
“I just can’t keep dealing with the ‘everyone is out to get me’ mentality,” Oswald wrote at the time.
“Perhaps we all need some time to reassess. Your talents are being overshadowed by your paranoia.”
McLoughlin has since had his year off, replaced by Patrick Dorney at the July 2012 meeting of the Collingswood Board of Education.
But the ex-coach still maintains that Collingswood High School Principal Edward Hill and Athletic Director Ronald Hamrick unfairly drove Oswald to replace him for opposing a climate of racism that he says permeated the school athletic department.
And now he's put those claims in writing.
On August 1, McLoughlin filed suit against the district, Oswald, Hill and Hamrick in New Jersey Superior Court. The former coach claims he was not asked to return to the team "as a direct result of his objection to racist practices and acts."
A copy of the document obtained by Patch illustrates a years-long, seemingly adversarial relationship among McLoughlin and Collingswood school administration that dates back to 1999.
In it, McLoughlin claims that he was materially and emotionally harmed by the actions of the district and is seeking both punitive and compensatory damages.
(Missing from the document is any explicit claim of interest in returning to his coaching position, which McLoughlin's previous attorney, Dennis G. Young, and supporters, had maintained was his chief priority.)
What follows are highlights of some of the 42 individual claims made in the suit as filed. It is important to note that these are allegations as provided by McLoughlin's legal counsel and do not reflect the findings of any court of law.
- In 1999, McLoughlin alleged he was questioned by then-athletic director Ed Hill, about why he and his coaching staff "catered to the black athletes"...that "white kids didn't even want to try out for the team" and that "white kids...needed representation on the team." After the 1999 season, McLoughlin allegedly received a poor review from Hill that was later changed after a union grievance.
- McLoughlin also reportedly previously battled Hill's recommendation that he not be reappointed as coach in 2001, with his union representative, Kim Roos, allegedly asking Hill, "Did you think we would forget that you tried to fire him last year?"
- McLoughlin says he received another negative performance review from Hill after the 2006/2007 season, during which Collingswood senior Tawan Austin was kicked off the team for discipline problems, then reinstated after a lawsuit. McLoughlin "had supported Austin's reinstatement efforts," the suit alleges; it further claims that Hill had used a racial slur in reference to Austin.
- The suit alleges that Athletic Director Ronald Hamrick specifically opposed a handful of students who transferred from Camden City into the Collingswood school district, including Karon Waller and Malik Clark, who both played for McLoughlin. The former coach said he was told that by Hamrick that Waller "was not a 'good fit' for Collingswood High School and he did not like 'his kind.'" Waller's father, the suit said, was eventually kicked out of a basketball game at Sterling in the 2010/11 season for being disruptive, after which point, Hamrick reportedly told McLoughlin that the man had embarrassed Collingswood, and refused to allow him to enter the high school gym to pick his son up from practice.
- According to the suit, Hamrick also promised "to go to all the athletic directors he could to interfere with Malik Clark's ability to play, and make sure Malik Clark doesn't get in." The document notes that the NJSIAA "unanimously granted Clark's appeal and specifically commented on their shock that the school was not only failing to support its students, but, in fact, opposing them."
- McLoughlin also describes incidents in which Hamrick had allegedly public confrontations with him in front of the team and coaches.
- McLoughlin allegedly brought his concerns to Superintendent Scott Oswald in March 2011 and was reportedly told "a lot of people say things they don't necessarily mean." McLoughlin further claims that despite this, Oswald publicly commented that he was surprised to hear about the allegations of bias.
- The suit also alleges that Oswald and the Collingswood Board of Education told McLoughlin, "Aren't you tired of fighting these guys? You have a fractured relationship and it is not good for your health."
Similarly, McLoughlin's current retainer, Charles H. Nugent, Jr., provided a copy of the suit as filed, but did not return phone calls.
Former Haddonfield borough commissioner Edward Borden, who was paid $10,000 to provide the school district with an independent analysis of the claims levied by McLoughlin at the 2012 Board of Education meetings, confirmed to Patch today that he had submitted his findings "a couple weeks ago.
"Because it’s a personnel matter, they’ve asked that I not disclose anything about it yet," Borden said.
Stick with Patch for further updates as we have them.