A longtime Mass. high school coach who leads teams in four sports across two schools has been placed on administrative leave in one sport and stepped down from another following reports that his coaching practices are not acceptable.
As reported by the Andover Eagle-Tribune, Andover volleyball coach E.J. Perry was placed on leave from his position with the program because of, “credible enough,” allegations that he was using inappropriate coaching practices in leading the program. That report came simultaneously with Perry also stepping down from his position as head basketball coach at Triton Regional High School.
“Allegations were brought forward and found to be credible enough to prompt the administration to conduct an investigation into a number of coaching practices used by Coach Perry,” Andover Athletic Director Bill Martin said in a statement released to parents. “This investigation will be conducted in a timely manner and we will update you on the progress as often as possible.”
While Perry is not to be in contact with students or parents during the investigation into the allegations against him, his position as the school’s head football coach and a teacher at West Elementary School in the Andover school district will reportedly not be impacted by the investigation.
If that strikes you as a curious and almost contradictory set of actions for the Andover School District to take, perhaps that’s because it is. How can a school district say that it’s concerned about the welfare of one group of students under the tutelage of a coach but not worried about another, larger group of student athletes being led by the same coach?
For his part, Perry insists that the allegations are a complete shock and that his only concern is for the welfare of his players and team.
“I was in total shock,” Perry told the Eagle Tribune. “They brought me the letter on Friday afternoon. They promised to do this in an expedient way and I have made myself available. … They have not asked me one thing. I don’t know anything. I have no clue, that’s really all I can say.
“The players are always my number one concern. My only concern. They deserve better than they are getting right now. We were getting better and better every game. Every kid was getting better. They were having pasta dinners and were in very good spirits, even though we were battling to have a good record.”
While the school’s administration has committed to pushing through the investigation in an expeditious way, no timeline has been presented as of yet. Meanwhile, the investigation into Perry is just the latest facing an Andover coaching staff this year; in late January the Andover hockey program placed three coaches on leave while it investigation allegations that they withheld food and water from a team after a loss. Those allegations were later found to be untrue and the coaches were reinstated.