FREEDOM PLAINS, NY – It’s been 12 days since the firing of one of the most successful coaches in Arlington girls soccer history, and while it may seem quiet since the frenzy after the story broke here on HVNN.com, there are still plenty of unanswered questions and behind the scenes activity in what appears to be a case of bullying. The biggest question might be “who” is being bullied?
Long time Arlington girl’s soccer coach, Kieran McIlvenny was called into the Athletic Director’s office on the Friday before the Christmas break and told by Dr. Brendan Lyons, the District Superintendent, that they were “going separate ways”. Just like that, McIlvenney was fired, after ten years as Arlington girls head soccer coach.
Shocking words for the coach to hear after McIlvenny’s team had just won a Sectional title this past season, and a Class AA New York State title the year before. Not to mention his other positive recognitions and successes throughout the soccer community. The sudden firing came to a complete surprise to McIlvenney as the Athletic Director was in contact with McIlvenney to discuss budget and plans for next season just before his December 22nd termination.
According to multiple sources, this ending had been brewing for more than two years and centered around a group of parents, disgruntled about playing time and post season accolades.
At the end of this past soccer season, and after Coach McIlvenney was given high marks on the enclosed Arlington High School Evaluation, ACSD officials held a meeting with a select group of players and parents. The cause for the meeting was to discuss charges of bullying by McIlvenney.
No one seems to be able to answer why the entire team was not involved or questioned to validate these claims. McIlvenney was never advised that the meeting was occurring, nor was he offered an opportunity to respond to the charges that came out of that meeting.
In reaching out to Dr. Lyons, HVNN was told that this is a personal matter and comment cannot be made at this time, however, Dr, Lyons did respond to a request for clarification regarding the meeting with players and parents saying, ” I can tell you that there was no singular “group” meeting with parents or students. Any meetings which occurred were with individual student-athletes and/or individual parents.”
None of the assistant coaches, nor the rest of the players on the team, including team captain and All American, Molly Feighan were interviewed about the accusations of bullying that came out of those meetings.
According to McIlvenney’s attorney Jeff Feldman, of Feldman, Kleidman, Coffey, Sappe & Regenbaum, “This is the clearest case of parental bullying with disastrous consequences to the School and its future players and coaches that I have ever seen. Coach McIlvenny has a stellar record as a mentor, teacher, coach and member of the community at large. At the end of this soccer season he received an outstanding review from the AHS AD.”
McIlvenney did receive an Excellent Rating in 31 out of 33 items on the post season evaluation form in the categories of Communication Skills, Organizational Skills, Sportsmanship, and Coaching Skills, administered by Arlington Athletic Director Michael Cring. Not one Unsatisfactory rating was given. In the category of Sportsmanship, McIlvenney received the highest marks allowed for, setting a positive example for athletes on how to conduct themselves on and off the field, and stressing the values and life lessons learned from the game.
Conversely, after the firing was made public, a parent who attended the selective meetings with parents and athletes put on his Facebook page, a reference to McIlvenney’s firing with a post that read, “Best Christmas present ever.”
More to come…
(Click on image for full two-page evaluation form)