BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There has been an expensive effort to express unhappiness with high school coaches in Westchester County.
Someone spent more than $1,200 to hire a plane to pull a banner, calling for the firing of two baseball coaches.
Many say the high-flying statement was a low blow, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Wednesday.
The incident happened on Monday in the sky above Briarcliff High School. A plane pulling a banner circled a playoff game at the baseball field for 30 minutes. The message in 7-foot high letters read: “Fire coaches Schrader & Kowalczyk.”
It was in reference to head coach John Schrader and assistant Walter Kowalczyk, two well-regarded coaches who have led the Briarcliff team to an 18-3 record this season. It appears they were targeted by an unhappy parent.
CBS2’s Aiello spoke on the phone with Justin Jaye, the owner of Fly Signs Aerial Advertising. He said it was the first time he’d been hired to fly a banner critical of high school coaches. He wouldn’t name the client, but said he charged more than $1,200.
“I’m pretty confident it is a parent of one of the kids on the team that potentially is not playing a lot,” Jaye said.
In the village of Briarcliff Manor, many people were outraged.
“I think that’s really unnecessary and a waste of money,” one person said.
“It’s just out of control. It’s out of control with priorities,” resident Tammy Calvi added.
One mother tweeted, “As a parent of a player — I am angered and disgusted by this cowardly act. These two coaches are dedicated to making our players better on and off the field.”
The Briarcliff schools superintendent said parents are losing perspective.
“In an attempt to promote self interest, some adults become willing conspirators in the theft of joy from youth athletic programs,” Dr. James M. Kaishian said.
The Briarcliff coaches told a local paper every coach has detractors, adding they’re proud that the banner badmouthing them didn’t distract their players. Briarcliff won that game on Monday, 13-0 over Irvington.
This story does have somewhat of a happy ending. According to CBS2’s Aiello a second plane flew over the field on Wednesday, saying “Let’s Go Briarcliff,” with the superintendent’s Twitter handle.
Many parents were glad to move forward.
“(Monday’s incident) was disappointing. It does not represent the Briarcliff community. It’s just not what we’re about. That’s what we’re about,” a mother said looking up at the sky.