Coach Resigns

April 14, 2017

Through eight seasons, Head Coach Kristen McDonnell led the girls' basketball team at Braintree (Mass.) High School to a 166-25 record. Under McDonnell’s leadership, the team won five South Sectional crowns and two Division 1 State Championships. According to an article from the Patriot Ledger, McDonnell resigned from her role in the wake of negative parent behavior.

A father who had two daughters on the team told the newspaper that an email exchange between a small group of parents and McDonnell led to the resignation. The emails were about playing time, captaincy, and end-of-season awards.

Many parents have stepped up to defend McDonnell and her coaching strategies. Pat Russell, whose daughters excelled on the team, called in to a radio station to comment on McDonnell’s positive influence on her players.

“I just called up because the first two callers to the station were taking the angle that it must have been something that Kristen did,” said Russell. “She’s been very, very good to all those kids. It’s too bad that a few parents didn’t like what they perceived she was doing to their daughters.”

Braintree Mayor Joe Sullivan weighed in on the controversy, saying that he wishes parents would discuss any issues they perceive with coaches in person as opposed to online.

“I always think it’s important to try to have conversations. Going through social media, the translation of words can get lost sometimes,” said Sullivan.

The former girls' coach, Nick Krot, who stepped down after facing similar circumstances, says he understands the feelings that parents might have while watching their child sit on the bench or miss out on an award.

“But don’t blame the coach,” he said. “Go home and talk to your kid and tell them to keep trying and work hard.”

Coach Madeline Lannin-Cotton, who retired from Rockland (Mass.) High School in 2012, commented on the issue, saying that parents should help their children learn how to speak up for themselves.

“I think they’re doing a real disservice for these young girls and boys always going to bat for them,” she said. “The parents’ main job is to support their child. But also to teach their child that sometimes things just aren’t fair and that you have to work through adversity.”

From New World Of Coaching
The key to coaching teenage athletes is realizing how to recognize these changes and then adapting to them yourself. This doesn’t mean lowering your standards or making things easier for them, but it might mean adjusting your approach and finding new ways to teach your lessons.
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