Roy C. Ketcham High School football coach Bill Roos said his team has “lost three coaches” as the result of inconsistencies that were brought to light after Monday’s opening day of the fall preseason.
Roos did not specify which coaches the team lost, or if their absences were voluntary or involuntary, but blamed 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.
Wappingers Central School District interim superintendent Jose Carrion did not confirm any action was taken, saying it is a “personnel matter,” but said, “There were some inconsistencies with our policy in terms of our use of volunteers.”
Barger, the parent of a Ketcham freshman, led the Indians through stretching at the start of Monday’s afternoon practice and took an active role working with the quarterbacks.
After practice, however, Roos said Barger was “not on the staff. He’s a parent who’s watching practice,” and declined further comment. Attempts to reach Barger and Wappingers Assistant Athletic Coordinator for Ketcham Joseph Luzzi Tuesday were unsuccessful.
“We have to ensure the consistency with our (volunteer) policy,” said Carrion, and that volunteers “are complying with (it) appropriately.”
The policy, posted on the Wappingers district website, explains a volunteer must submit an application, which asks for references and information on criminal convictions, and be interviewed by the school’s principal. The applicant must then be approved by the principal and the district superintendent. Finally, the board must approve the applicant following the superintendent’s recommendation.
According to the policy a volunteer “is an individual who is not employed by the district and not receiving any payment for assisting with district activities that may involve direct student contact on a regular, recurring basis. … Volunteers may only serve in an auxiliary role under the supervision and direction of the district employee responsible for the program or activity.”
The list of Ketcham football coaches that was submitted to the Wappingers board for approval on paid positions includes Roos, Aaron Wright, James Phelna, John Devine and Thomas Mullins, according to board documents on the Wappingers website.
Roos returned to the role of Indians 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.
The Journal’s Dan Pietrafesa contributed to this report.