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What you need to know for 08/16/2017

Niskayuna school board votes against keeping basketball coach

Niskayuna school board votes against keeping basketball coach

Niskayuna High School varsity basketball coach Ian McShane was not reappointed by the school board T

Niskayuna High School varsity basketball coach Ian McShane was not reappointed by the school board Tuesday night, amid allegations that he used profanity with his players.

The board voted 4-3 against McShane after a public comment session in which parents and players spoke out both in support of and against reappointing McShane as basketball coach.

What happens with the program now, and who will coach it for the upcoming season, was unclear late Tuesday. A new coach, though, was expected to be appointed soon, officials said.

The board voted after an executive session, and no board members commented about their votes. Robert Winchester, Debbie Gordon and John Buhrmaster voted for retaining McShane, while Barbara Mauro, Deb Oriola, Patricia Lanotte and Kevin Laurillard voted against.

Those remaining in the room for the vote gave no audible reaction after the vote.

The position of varsity basketball coach carries a salary of $5,296.

The issue, according to those commenting, dated back to last winter, when McShane was accused of using profanity with players, once during a game at Saratoga Springs and once during an earlier practice.

An official account from the district was not available. McShane, who attended part of the meeting, declined to comment or respond to the accusations.

But, according to the commenters, the accusations resulted in a one-game suspension. Those supporting the coach argued to the board that McShane had served his suspension and been a model coach since. They argued that he is a good coach and should be retained.

Others, fewer by comparison, asked the board to make their decision based on all available evidence, questioning McShane’s fitness to be Niskayuna’s varsity basketball coach.

Among those speaking out for the coach was volunteer assistant Mike Polsinelli. Polsinelli, who helped coach at the Saratoga Springs game, said the coach changed for the better after that night .

“It’s headed in the right direction,” Polsinelli said of the program. “Coach McShane is one of the most dedicated coaches I’ve ever worked for.”

Parent Richard Sise argued against retaining McShane, however. Sise said there are two Ian McShanes, one a coach who puts too much pressure on himself to win.

Sise contended McShane never apologized for what happened, and it was only after some parents complained that he was confronted about it.

It wasn’t the language itself that was so objectionable, Sise argued, but how it was used. He alleged it was used in an abusive and bullying manner.

“I’ll tell you now, if you rehire Ian McShane, you might just as well take an ad out in the Gazette and the Times Union that says ‘Niskayuna schools approve and condone abusive and bullying behavior by its athletic coaches,’ ” he said.

Niskayuna basketball parent Glenn Oliver spoke out in support of McShane. He said McShane instilled confidence in his son Brent and made him a better player.

“He does that because he finds the positive in people, finds the positive in kids,” Glenn Oliver said.

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