SOMERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Westchester high school field hockey coach is speaking out after he says he was fired because of some overzealous parents.
Somers High School field hockey coach Marq Mellor — a former U.S. Olympian — told CBS2’s Brian Conyebeare he was stunned by what happened.
“I love this game,” he said.
Mellor captained the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 96 Olympics. he was fired by Somers last week after a small group of outspoken parent complained that their daughters weren’t playing enough, and one father objected to who the team captains were.
“This parent was very upset that his daughter wasn’t named captain. He felt that it was embarrassing that she was a senior, and she wasn’t named captain. They led that to another parent who also felt his daughter was playing up during the games. She was a junior, and she was, maybe only getting 30 or 40 minutes, and not playing the whole game,” he said.
At least one player refused to join tea huddles during games, standing 10 yards away. Some parents called for the coach to be fired, and one sent a text to Mellor.
“It’s not about the captainship (expletive)…You’re a cancer and embarrassment to this program and everything it represents. Do yourself a favor, and don’t come back next week…You’re a dead man walking,” the text read.
“It was devastating. I’ve never had anyone send me anything like that before from coaching,” Mellor said.
No one at Somers or the district office would answer our questions about the firing of the coach or whether parental involvement played a role, but a new interim coach is handling the final week of the season and the playoffs.
A spokesman said only that it was a personnel decision, and they couldn’t comment further.
Some residents said parents need to dial it back and let the coaches coach.
“Sometimes parents do get a little too involved and take it a little bit more seriously than it really is,” Leigh Ann Carlson said.
“Because they get involved and it’s never fair and honest like it was back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s,” Steve Turnbull said.
Mellor said he will keep training girls on a club team, but can’t believe what happened.
“I love to coach. My daughter is a girl who plays on one of the teams. I believe I can make a positive influence on them, not just in hockey, but help teach them life lessons and help them grow and mature as young adults, and it’s just devastating,” Mellor said.
He just won’t be doing it at Somers High School.