EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 2, 2012

Some 'cut' stories

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Londonderry High hockey coach Peter Bedford: “My very first year coaching at Goffstown I had to make the tough choice of cutting two junior goaltenders, both of whom had been on the varsity team their freshman and sophomore years.

“There were two incoming freshmen goaltenders who were considerably better. To make matters worse, there wasn’t a junior varsity team to place them on.

“As I have my entire coaching career, I spoke directly to both players once the roster was posted and told them why. One of the junior goaltenders, though unhappy, excepted the outcome and moved on. The other did not and immediately left school.

“I received a phone call from the father who expressed his anger. I met with both the player and the father later that day and explained the outcome and showed the evaluation grades we used. Again they both expressed anger to which I ended the meeting before it escalated any further.

“A few days later, I received a call from the AD, who said the parent contacted him, the school principal, and superintendent to which they concluded a meeting needed to take place between the parents, AD, principal and myself.

“In that meeting the parents expressed their disappointment, questioned my coaching. Sadly, it became verbally threatening and they demanded their son be put on the team.

Once the meeting concluded the AD and principle asked if I wanted to change my decision. I said ‘You paid me to do a job and select the best players for your varsity team and I have don just that.’ I did not change my decision.

Thankfully they supported me and we completed the season, but the story does not end there.

The following season we created a junior varsity team and one of the freshmen goaltenders from the previous season was injured and was out for the upcoming season. Again we held tryouts, and surprisingly both juniors goaltenders I cut, attended.

In the end, the goaltender who had given me the most grief the previous season made the varsity and was given some game time to boot.

A few years after this all took place, I ran into the father of this player and to his credit he apologized for his behavior and expressed that he thought I would have never taken his son the following year due to the animosity of the situation.

The player and I still remain in contact from time to time and he has since graduated and doing quite well.

Sanborn Regional boys basketball coach Bob Ficker: “We had roughly 55 kids go out for two middle school teams. We were keeping 15 per team, meaning there was not room for 25 kids.

As varsity coach I am insistent on being at all tryouts and meeting and seeing all kids in the program 6-through-12. I attended the six to eight workouts and worked with the kids, as it is essentially my program. I am the person who talks to kids that we did not have a spot for. I let the other coaches bring the good news so to speak.

As I started to talk to kids that night it didn’t take them long to figure out who I was bringing the bad news to. So as I would walk up to a kid in a drill line, if I called their name they would look over their shoulder and most immediately welled up, which, in turn, made my voice crack also.

I talked with each kid for a couple of minutes and then moved on to the next. The last 4 kids I had to do in a group because I just ran out of time and I apologized to them for that.”

Haverhill High girls basketball coach Bob Mellilo: “The funniest experience was early in my career when I was the boys coach at Tewksbury High.

I was speaking with each player in the coaches office with my assistant Paul Garrity, who was sitting on the edge of the couch.

A senior who had no skills and who never tried out for the team in the prior three years was very upset raising his voice and complaining that he should make the team.

When I asked him why he did not try out in his first three years he stated I didn’t know we had a basketball team until last week.

Paul tried not to laugh but he laughed so hard he fell of the couch.”

Methuen High boys basketball coach Matt Curran: “Last year when our JV coach, Malik Curry, wanted a player that we were not that high on. He hardly played but he continued coming to everything.

We offered him a spot on this year’s summer and fall team and he worked his tail off, and now has gone from JV bench player to being on varsity.”