At last Wednesday's Wilmington School Committee, local resident Kathleen Black Reynolds asked committee members and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brand whether or not the high school spring athletic coaches will be paid their full salaries, despite the seasons being cancelled due to the pandemic.
“I’ve been an adult coach of youth sports my entire adult life, all voluntary, and as I emailed each of you last week, I am perplexed as to why the stipends are being withheld from our current coaches, all of the coaches," she asked. “The monies are budgeted for all in advance, not to mention that Wilmington has $24 million in what we call free cash.
“I think Wilmington should be a leader in this regard, rather than waiting to see what other communities do and following those leads. I think Wilmington should step up and be a leader and have other communities follow them, pay the full stipends for these coaches”
Reynolds, who has been instrumental in helping the summer tennis programs and tournaments, went on to say that these coaches have been extremely loyal to their programs, the student-athletes, as well as being terrific role models for the town.
“On non-monetary issues, I just want to reiterate how much work and effort goes into what the coaches do,” she said. “I think they deserve the respect and consideration from this committee and this town as a whole. I think that what they give should be reciprocated.
“It sort of leaves a bad taste, I would think, in their mouths if this committee and the district turns their back on them and doesn’t pay them. It just makes sense from a loyalty perspective, from a leadership perspective, to pay these coaches their full stipends, not wait any longer.”
Neither Brand or any member of the committee replied to her comments.
CATS LOSE TWO ATHLETES
Recently, it was announced on social media that two younger athletes at WHS, Riley Fitzgerald and Joe McCauley, will be attending school elsewhere. This has been an ongoing issue at the school for many years now, losing promising student-athletes to other institutions.
McCauley, who as a freshman split time as the quarterback of the WHS Football team this past fall completing 36-of-81 passes for 501 yards with 7 TDs and 6 interceptions, will be going to Dexter Southfield Prep.
Fitzgerald, a strong skater, who was a top forward on the WHS Boys Hockey team this past winter after coming over from Belmont Hill, will be attending the newly formed 'Boston Imperials Hockey Academy at Matignon High School'.
Matignon High's boys hockey team has been shifted to a co-op program with Revere and Malden and the Academy is totally separate from that team, more or less being compared to a Jr. Hockey program.
CHANGES WITH HS SPORTS
Over the last week or so, the MIAA held meetings and voted on several changes for the upcoming seasons with a various different sports. It appears as if football will remain to have eight divisions, while both basketball and volleyball will spread out to five divisions, all starting in the 2021-'22 season.
Another possible change in volleyball could also happen. On May 28th, a representative from the Volleyball Committee will attend the Blue Ribbon Committee to give a presentation for the proposed rule change that would allow boys to play in the front row during game play, thus being able to spike the volleyball as a member of the girls team.
This possible rule change has brought up a number of safety issues. Tewksbury coach Alli Luppi was asked her thoughts on the possibility of this happening.
"I've heard about the upcoming rule change. It seems most coaches I've talked to are against it, which I completely understand. I play co-ed volleyball quite frequently, and I can only imagine how hard the men would hit if they were hitting on a women's net instead of a men's net. With this being said, I'm still interested in learning more about the proposal from both sides."
Back in 2006, under then TMHS head coach Kerry Lane (now Kerry Kane), the Redmen Volleyball team qualified for the state tournament for the first time in seven years and had a boy on the roster, Colin Walsh, who played in the back row. But because Walsh was on the roster, Tewksbury was forced to move up and play Lexington in the Division 1 North Sectional tournament, although the Redmen should have been a D2 team.
"The way we played him, we should not be moving up to D1," said Lane at the time. "It’s not like he is there in the front row with huge power. Colin is a great player, but we have not had him serve all season and he's been behind the ten-foot line all season."
REDMEN FOOTBALL NO. 14 IN DECADE
This past week, MaxPreps announced the top 20 high school football programs of the decade.
Here's the top-30 list and their total points.
1. Everett 311; 2. Xaverian 231; 3. St. John's Prep 211; 4. Duxbury 195; 5. King Philip 191; 6/7. Mansfield and Nashoba Regional 182; 8. Central Catholic 179; 9. St. John's (S) 159; 10/11. Springfield Central/Holliston 143; 12. Melrose 135; 13. Bridgewater-Raynham 116; 14. Tewksbury 111; 15. Reading 108; 16. BC High 107; 17/18/19. Catholic Memorial/Dennis-Yarmouth/North Attleboro 104; 20. Marshfield 91.
Jackson Gillis was named to the Boston Herald's All-Decade Second team this past week.
Also a big congratulations are in order for the WHS Girls' Basketball team as all 12 players on this past year's roster were named to the Honor Roll or High Honor Roll List at the school.
Lizzie McDermott contributed to this report.