A girls basketball coach in New Hampshire claims she was pushed out by her administration because she is a, “tough woman coach.”
As reported by the New Hampshire Union Leader, Bedford (N.H.) High School administrators fired longtime girls basketball coach Sue Thomas, following an investigation into her program by Bedford Athletic Director Corey Parker and Bedford Principal Bill Hagen. The dismissal came amidst a controversy where he players allegedly refused to compete in a tournament if Thomas was retained as the coach.
“We did not just part ways,” Thomas told the Union Leader. “I was let go, and in my opinion I was let go because I am a tough woman coach.”
The Union Leader provided more details about Thomas’ firing and how the school reacted to the tournament the team had picketed.
Thomas was officially fired on Monday, just days after players said they would not participate in a tournament last weekend in Salem if Thomas was coaching.
After Parker spoke with Thomas, she “graciously offered” not to attend the tournament and Assistant Coach Kevin Gibbs filled in, (Bedford interim superintendent) Fournier said.
Then, Fournier said, administrators learned that nearly all of the players on the team were unwilling to play if Thomas was coaching.
“The school district is grateful for all that Sue Thomas has done for the school system … but this was not a good match,” Fournier said of Thomas’ coaching style and the team.
Thomas said she requested a meeting, which could have included parents, to address concerns, but that her request was not granted.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of Thomas’ dismissal is just how suddenly it evolved. The coach led the program for all seven seasons since its inception, piloted the team to the playoffs every year and four state title games under her watch, including one state championship victory.
While Thomas expressed some regret for the circumstances that precipitated her removal, she did not back off her reputation as a hard-driving coach.
“I am a tough coach. We had a bad loss right before Christmas,” Thomas told the Union-Leader. “Players were upset with the practice and it brought up a lot of things.
“I texted them all yesterday and told them I always had their best interest at heart. I am sorry it wasn’t perceived that way and I wish them the best of luck in the future.”