WAPPINGERS FALLS – The Roy C. Ketcham High School football program moved forward with a larger staff Tuesday, hours after two coaches received approval from the Wappingers Central School District’s Board of Education.
Late Monday night, nearly one week after varsity head coach Bill Roos said he “lost three coaches,” the district’s Board of Education approved Steven Mourges as a Ketcham assistant JV football coach, and DeForrest Nebblett as an assistant freshman football coach. Mourges was also approved as a Ketcham football volunteer.
Joe Luzzi, the district’s assistant athletic coordinator in charge of Ketcham’s sports programs, did not return a phone call Tuesday seeking comment. Roos said Tuesday his administration prohibited him from speaking to the media.
On Aug. 19, Roos said his team had “lost three coaches” after the opening day of the fall preseason a day earlier. At that time, Roos did not specify which coaches the team “lost,” or if their absences were voluntary or involuntary. He said the Poughkeepsie Journal’s inquiry into the role Ken Barger had with the team, after the embattled former Poughkeepsie head coach was seen on the field coaching the Indians, led to the loss of those coaches.
In response to last week’s action, Jose Carrion, the Wappingers Central School District’s interim superintendent, did not confirm any action was taken, saying it is a “personnel matter.” He did, however, say “there were some inconsistencies with our policy, in terms of our use of volunteers.”
Following Monday’s approvals, Carrion did not say if Mourges or Nebblett were among the three coaches Roos claimed were lost, but said, “Everyone that was supposed to be appointed got appointed today.”
Board members also approved included Linda Edgar as Ketcham’s girls tennis coach, Craig Kunaschk as the Indians’ JV volleyball coach, and Jessica Paskowski as a varsity girls soccer volunteer at the Wappingers Falls school.
Appointments at John Jay, the district’s other high school, included Edward Reiser as head freshman football coach, Robert Cohowicz as assistant freshman football coach, Gino Ruotolo as a football volunteer and Joseph Mahoney as a volleyball volunteer.
Roos returned to the role of Ketcham head coach this season after serving in the position from 1992-2000. He was approved by the board on July 7. A physical-education teacher at the school, he was a part-time assistant under former head coach Pat Keevins in 2013, before Keevins resigned. The Indians were 7-2 last season.
Barger is being investigated by the state education department and the Poughkeepsie City School District as part of a district investigation into whether students were given special accommodations while taking Regents exams in January 2013, according to Poughkeepsie Journal archives. His 18th and final hearing was July 10.
In July, Barger’s lawyer, Michael Sussman, said a hearing officer, appointed jointly by both sides, will decide on the case. He estimated it could take between two and three months.
Barger, a special-education teacher, coached the Poughkeepsie varsity football team from 2005-12. A 1997 Marist College graduate and a two-time Poughkeepsie Journal High School Football Coach of the Year, Barger was an assistant with Roos on head coach Jim Parady’s football staff at Marist.
Mike Benischek: email@example.com; 845-437-4722; Twitter: @benischekpj. Nina Schutzman: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-451-4518 Twitter: @pojonschutzman. Reporter Sean T. McMann contributed to this report.