A 72-year-old boys varsity lacrosse coach in Connecticut stepped down recently, citing future parental conflict as the reason.
Paul McNulty, who just finished his 50th year coaching high school sports, has resigned his post at Staples High (Westport, Conn.).
“I was warned there was a group of people coming into the high school and their goal was for a regime change in (other sports) and lacrosse,” McNulty told The Norwalk Hour. “I realized I had just finished my 50th year as a coach in either football or lacrosse and these parents were going to be there for four years before they cycled through. If I was 20-something years old, fine, but I figured that I’d rather go. That’s enough. Let somebody else deal with it.”
McNulty also told The Hour he had nothing but great things to say about his current group of parents.
“This year was fine. The parents were fine,” he said. “The booster club was fine. They worked all year raising extra money for us. After our banquet, some people pulled me aside and said, ‘We want to you warn you about something.’ ”
That something, as we’ve seen in instances across various sports around the country, is not unique to Westport, Conn.
So, with many great years on the sideline under his belt, McNulty decided it wasn’t worth the trouble to deal with a torrent of potential parental pressure.
“They just think they can do what they want,” McNulty told The Hour. “We can just force these guys out. I just wish administrations would back (coaches) up.”
This wouldn’t have been McNulty’s first time dealing with overreaching parents.
He told The Hour that he has seen it happen at both Staples and at Wilton (Conn.), where he was the varsity lacrosse coach for 13 years before he says parents forced him out of the job and into a return to his alma mater, Staples.
“They can make life miserable for you,” he said.
In 13 years at Wilton, McNulty’s teams won three state championships and two league titles. He was 191-82 in that time. In the following 10 years at Staples, his teams went 134-59, played for two state championships and winning three Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference Western Division championships, including this past spring.
So what does the next coach have to look forward to?
“I’ve talked to a couple of coaches who were going to apply and they wanted to know what’s up,” McNulty told The Hour. “I told them, Staples is an excellent job. They’re good people, good administrators, good trainers and good kids playing. I told them it’s an excellent job.”
Just not one he wanted to hold any longer.