A popular winning softball coach at Cicero-North Syracuse High School has apparently been fired for bullying a player who decided to attend a prom instead of a game.
Kerry Bennett has reportedly been told that he would not be re-appointed after coaching the girl's softball team for 30 years. The decision ends a career in which Bennett won 600 games and took the Northstars to four state titles.
Dr. Kim Dyce Faucette, North Syracuse School District superintendent says, "This is a decision that was in the best interest of our program and our students. This is a personnel matter that we can not discuss in detail."
Bennett could not be reached for comment, but he confirmed to the Syracuse Post Standard that the decision related to former player Brittany Paul. He told the newspaper that Paul had left the team before a championship game in order to attend her senior prom.
On July 9th, Brittany and her father Jeffrey Paul who is a football coach in the Liverpool School District, went before the North Syracuse School District demanding it take action against coach Bennett. They claimed after Brittany decided to attend her prom instead of the softball game, she had been repeatedly bullied, allegedly with the coach's knowledge and participation.
During the meeting, the father and daughter told the board of a number of incidents. They involved vandalism to Brittany's car, harassing text messages and Facebook postings, and verbal confrontations with teammates and parents.
The pair also claimed that coach Bennett was behind an effort to discredit Brittany by removing her face from a team poster at an awards banquet.
They also accused the coach of sending an anonymous letter to Brittany's softball coach at LaFayette College where she will enroll this fall. They said the letter was so critical of the girl, that LaFayette's coach warned coach Bennett that the college might take legal action against him.
Contacted by phone, Diana Paul told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon, "This certainly isn't about what he's done over 30 years, it's about this season. There was just cause." Jeff Paul added: Our biggest problem was the letter... trying to submarine her career."