Mike Woodbury, the CEO of The Nation Basketball Academy (Port St. Lucie, Fla.), is under fire after audio footage leaked of him verbally berating a player for transferring.
Woodbury’s profanity-laced words to departing senior Marvens Petion, who has since transferred to nationally ranked West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.), were posted to YouTube this week.
Woodbury’s tirade has drawn the ire of many in the sports world. On Thursday afternoon, Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell tweeted out his disapproval.
Before Woodbury moved to Florida, he coached youth teams for nearly two decades in his home state of Maine. As the Portland Press Herald reports, athletes who played on his club teams described similar mistreatment from Woodbury.
“I knew this day would come,” Emily Rousseau, 29, said of Woodbury to the Press Herald. “I honestly just thought it would come years ago.”
Rousseau, who played at Biddeford (Maine) High School followed by the University of Maine and Stonehill College (Mass.), was on Woodbury’s Maine Elite team in the spring of her sophomore year of high school, per the Press Herald.
“He several times referred to us as sperm banks. Yep, when we were 15,” she said. “If he wanted us to go into a game he would pull our ponytail and drag us to the scorer’s table. We had an African-American girl on our team and he said if she didn’t start playing better there would be a hate crime.”
Former Thornton Academy (Saco, Maine) and Bentley University (Mass.) player Andrew Shaw told the Press Herald that the use of foul language was common in his four years playing for Woodbury’s club hoops teams.
“I wish I would have had the gumption to record some of the stuff he said to me and my teammates,” Shaw said. “The F-word is probably every third word out his mouth. Some of what’s in (the recording) is mild compared to what he used to do.”
Shaw shared a story with the Press Herald of the time Woodbury told a 16-year-old player he should jump off the Piscataqua River Bridge because he had played poorly at a tournament in Mass.
“He certainly scarred me, and I know he scarred some of my teammates far worse than me,” Shaw said. “In some ways I used him as a means to an end to get a full scholarship. I did that, but I don’t love basketball anymore or enjoy what happened to me.”
Per the Press Herald, the audio has led one former Maine athlete to decide to leave The Nation Christian Academy. Former George Stevens Academy (Blue Hill, Maine) basketball standout Taylor Schildroth was on Nation Christian’s post-graduate roster, but Wednesday he announced on Twitter his intent to leave the school.
Per the Press Herald, Woodbury was owner and operator of MB Nation, a club basketball team based in southern Maine that formed in 2008. Prior to that, he ran other club basketball programs, coaching a Maine basketball team in 2011 that won a national AAU boys’ Division I 12th-grade championship.