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McLoughlin's Assistant Urges Board to Renew Coach

Morris Smith, a Collingswood attorney, says he assisted Joe McLoughlin all season as a volunteer coach and didn't see any grounds for taking away his clipboard.

Morris Smith characterizes Joseph McLoughlin as a coach who “never wore the basketball thing on his sleeve” and “doesn’t walk around in a track suit with a whistle.”

The two have worked together for years, Smith says, helping student-athletes with everything from finding summer jobs to navigating the college applications process. It wasn’t until this year, however, that he took McLoughlin up on a longstanding offer to be his (volunteer) assistant coach.

“I saw the entire season from beginning to end,” Smith says. “I was at all but one or two practices, and all but one game."

That’s why, he says he “confident that there is not a performance issue” that would justify as the CHS boys' basketball head coach.

At the Tuesday school board meeting, Smith alleged that unnamed people within the school district may have lobbied for McLoughlin’s dismissal behind the scenes.

“There are two individuals who are not here who had presented this [idea to dismiss McLoughlin],” Smith said at the meeting. “They’re not here. It seems to me that there would be some logic and merit in such an important decision to stand behind their recommendation.

“I suspect that the people who are advising you, not Dr. Oswald, maybe the people who are giving him the information, may be rushing this,” Smith told the board.

Yet that the decision to not renew McLoughlin as coach was his alone.

"My recommendation is based on what I witnessed," Oswald said Tuesday, adding that he had "enough concerns" about McLaughlin's "handling of situations" to merit a change. The superintendent declined to be more specific. 

One day later, Smith still stands behind his remarks. He declines, however, to provide specific context for them, he says, to avoid a public war of words with the district.

“I’m concerned at this point about seizing an opportunity to resolve this before we go that far,” Smith says. “I’m optimistic that the board, the administration and Mr. McLoughlin can resolve their differences before we reach a point of no return.”

If there is to be a peace broker in this personnel dispute, Smith seems the likeliest candidate. The 25-year Collingswood resident is a consultant and practicing attorney whose past clients have included the school districts of Philadelphia and Camden. His son () is a student liaison to the and a multi-sport athlete who played for McLoughlin.

And peace is what Smith is after. The issue, he says, is not that a replacement—the May 29 agenda named Patrick Dorney, eight-year men’s basketball coach at Arcadia University—would be any less capable than McLaughlin in the role.

The issue is what would be lost in dismissing McLoughlin, Smith says—a man whose inclusive approach to the game gave developmentally disabled children a chance to actively participate in the team as water boys and girls.

Joe McMonagle described his son Jimmy as "a high-functioning autistic" to the Collingswood school board Tuesday night. He said that McLoughlin "made him [Jimmy] feel part of the team" and even helped get his son a college scholarship.

Julian Welsh-White, a 2011 CHS graduate who played for McLoughlin, said that the coach has proven his worth in results, delivering four straight Colonial Conference championships, two sectional championships in three years and more wins at the sport than any other coach the school has had.

“The fact that they’re trying to fire the winningest coach in school history just doesn’t make sense,” Welsh-White says. “I don’t know why. He built this program up when it was at the bottom.”

“The real issue is in addition to the obvious basketball qualifications that Mr. McLoughlin has, he brings so much value to this community because of his structured and deliberate inclusion of young people,” Smith says.

“Black, white, Asian, his inclusion of the children who face disability challenges; that value is really incalculable,” he says. “They could bring in Pat Riley, Phil Jackson; they’re not going to be able to replicate what Joe McLoughlin does for children in Collingswood.”

bye bye bye June 23, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Well Pat will have a chance to get back to 500 with the Colls program after monday night. Rumor has it that they are trying to get Donald Trump to come and say Joe "Your Fired". lol. Handy, I agree with you thank god for internet it allows us to see that the kid Joe recruited from camden in 2010 dad was in Federal prison for Selling a controlled dangerous substance. In fact he was on the front cover of an FBI magazine, but just like colls teacher said above at least Joe teaches kids to look you in the eye when they shake your hand. Rumor has it Joe will be teaching at Jamesburg next year any truth to that? Last thing Handy what was Joe Joe record last year? or his first 3 years? YOU NEED PLAYERS TO WIN BUDDY.... Last time I checked Arcadia no power house in basketball before Pat and will not be after Pat (Takes the job at Colls High). I think you and colls teacher could have won more then 4 games last year in the colonial coaching or playing...hahahahaha..T minus 50 hours until Joe and Morris Smith start another adventure together in coaching. Morris will be on his staff at next school correct?
ace June 23, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Once upon a time....Well, here's some information for you. In 2008 or 2009 the wrestling team had a transfer from camden catholic that was hooked on drugs but the coach Ron Hamrick ignored that fact and used the kid to try to win that year. He used him for wrestling than as soon as the season ended discarded him like a piece of trash.oh by the way as soon as the season ended the kid dropped out of school and Ron Hamrick didn't even try to help him but made sure to help him during wrestling season.Use and abuse is the shirt that hamrick made up following the season.
Colls teacher June 25, 2012 at 04:36 PM
I really did not know Joe until he started teaching in the Middle School and I still stand behind him and what he does with the kids
COLLSmopolitan July 01, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Hmmmm, Dr, O stated that all the coaches go out of their way to help kids as much as Joe does. I have never seen any coach do as much as Joe. As a teacher Hamrick was known to be real nice to the boy athletes and ignore the non-athletes. Joe treats EVERY child as one of his own.
zippadeedodah December 06, 2012 at 05:43 AM
Pat Dorney is a top-notch used car salesman, so much so he prolly toasted his wife with a tall glass of lemonade on their wedding night. Talk to any of his former college players, I've met many on occassion- they all hated him. Most arrogant ass in coaching. Not a man at all. Not a role model to maturing men at all unless its your goal to cultivate thugs. Most boring style of losing basketball u can watch. Game on the line, this jack-ass is too busy cursing at the refs instead of strategizing with his team. Liar, sneak, two-faced ass and not very smart. And proof any low life can get a teaching gig.

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