October 25, 2001
October 25, 2001 - Minutes R & D Committee
Members Present:
Lula Bauer, Director, Chuck Keefer, Christina Mroczek, Clarence Jones, Hap Kwiatkowski, Dan Critin

The Committee met to consider the case of inappropriate behavior and verbal abuse by the Coach of the SSA Lyons in a game on 9/16 against the ABGC Roadrunners (U-19 D4) at the MD Soccerplex.

The hearing was held in response to a written report sent to WAGS by the Manager of the ABGC team. Attending the hearing from ABGC: The Head Coach, the Manager, and the trainer. Attending the hearing from SSA: The Coach, the Assistant Coach and the SSA Club Rep.

The case can be summarized as follows:

  • the SSA coach was not allowed to coach from the player's side of the field because he did not have his official coach's pass.
  • the SSA coach spent much of the first half coaching from the spectator's side of the field.
  • at a time close to the end of the first half, and following a verbal altercation with one or more adults associated with ABGC, the referee asked the SSA coach to leave the field.
  • during the half-time intermission, the ABGC team manager left the sideline to visit the ladies room (note: the Germantown complex has permanent men's and ladies restroom structures throughout, which are located close to the fields). As the ABGC team manager approached the restroom facility, she had a verbal altercation with the SSA coach, who was changing into his referee's jersey and speaking on his cell-phone out side the permanent structure.
  • The ABGC team manager alleges that the SSA coach verbally abused her at this point, physically threatened her, and indeed began kicking at the door of the ladies room. Another parent already in the bathroom escorted her back to the field out of concern for her safety.
The Committee heard testimony from both the ABGC and SSA representatives.

ABGC: ABGC stressed that the SSA coach was acting inappropriately while coaching from the spectators' side of the field. They said that they at no time verbally harassed or initiated any inappropriate verbal contact with the SSA coach, players or spectators; they only asked the referee, through the head coach, to disallow the SSA from coaching his team. The team trainer did however acknowledge that she responded to an inappropriate verbal comment from the SSA coach with an inappropriate gesture.

The Committee received an e-mail from the parent who escorted the ABGC manager from the bathroom back to the field; she also states in that e-mail that the SSA coach kicked the door of the bathroom and screamed at the ABGC team manager who was in the bathroom.

SSA: The SSA coach apologized for his actions. He acknowledged that he lost his temper with the ABGC team manager. He testified, however, that he was provoked by her aggressive attitude from the outset--namely from pre-game proceedings with the referees and by unsolicited and offensive verbal harassment by the manager and several ABGC adults during the first half prior to his ejection. He also testified that the ABGC manager was the one who initiated the verbal altercation outside the bathroom at half-time, and that is when he lost his cool, which he acknowledged was wrong. He admitted to kicking the men's bathroom door 2-3 times out of frustration, but never the ladies room door.

The SSA coach's version of the events was supported by the other SSA representatives present, and also by 4 notarized letters written by SSA parents and a close personal friend of the SSA coach, who were all present at the game/field.

The Decision of the Committee; The Committee considered carefully the lengthy testimony by both sides and the written submissions in this episode. It considers it to be absolutely regrettable and an embarrassment to WAGS.

The Committee considers the behavior of the SSA coach to be unacceptable, particularly in light of the fact that he is known to the Committee to be an experienced referee of both WAGS and High School games in the area. While the Committee takes note of his statement that he did not at any time mean to threaten the ABGC team manager, and that he kicked the door of the men's room and not the ladies room, such behavior can still be regarded as potentially intimidating and frightening to another person, and cannot be tolerated.

At the same time, the Committee finds it difficult to believe that there was not any verbal communication from the ABGC of an aggressive or perhaps even offensive nature that contributed to the ill-will between the two sides, adding to the escalation of the episode, given the extent of written and oral testimony by the SSA. Therefore the Committee considers certain ABGC officials bear partial responsibility for the events that took place.

At this time, with the posting of these conclusions, the Committee considers that it has provided written censure to both the SSA head coach and the ABGC team manager and team trainer. No further disciplinary action is recommended as a result of this particular incident. However, it will monitor closely the future conduct of both teams, and serves notice that it is fully prepared to call a hearing to examine any questionable conduct that is reported involving any member of the SSA Lyons or the ABGC RoadRunners.

Lula Bauer, Director

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