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The Current State of the SHS Varsity Coaching Staff

Photo+courtesy%3A+Jon+Thaler
Photo courtesy: Jon Thaler

Photo courtesy: Jon Thaler

Jon Thaler

Jon Thaler

Photo courtesy: Jon Thaler

James Heffner, Writer

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Following the abrupt departure of three varsity coaches, the Scarsdale Athletic department is faced with the difficult task of finding replacements for those positions. Billy Murphy, the boys varsity basketball head coach, Genette Zhongetti, the girls varsity lacrosse head coach, and Sharon Rosenthal, the varsity field hockey head coach were all either dismissed or resigned in protest. Many members of the community are concerned that Scarsdale’s discharge of eight coaches in the span of a single year will discourage potential coaching candidates, and unfortunately, their premonition may be correct.

Coach Billy Murphy was dismissed suddenly from the boys basketball coaching staff on February 2nd, following a meeting with Athletic Director Ray Pappalardi. Murphy was named Section 1 Coach of the Year, attributed with the SHS varsity team’s success in 2016, and was four games away from his third year with the program when he was let go. The incident began as a result of complaints from parents regarding Murphy’s conduct during a team trip to Miami, which arose concerns about his lack of regard for player safety and professionalism. Justin Washington, the team’s former assistant coach, was promoted to head coach for the remainder of the season, leading them to a final record of 10-7. Washington’s position as head coach, however, does not appear to be permanent, as Pappalardi announced that he would begin his search for replacement varsity field hockey, basketball, and ice hockey coaches the week of March 12th. Varsity girls lacrosse coach Genette Zhongetti, along with her sister/assistant coach Gail Zhongetti, were both fired in a similar fashion to Coach Murphy. The firing of these coaches came as a shock to the players, whose season was set to begin only weeks from the time they were notified of their coaches’ dismissals. Pappalardi had two strong candidates for the position of head girls lacrosse coach; however, both withdrew their names from consideration. If no suitable replacement is found, Pappalardi, with assistance from Quaker Ridge Elementary School teacher Megan Matthews, will coach the team this season. Although the job of girls lacrosse coach is not Pappalardi’s expertise, given that his background is mostly coaching gymnastics, he feels optimistic due to his observations from the tryouts. Coach Sharon Rosenthal resigned after an 18-year career as the SHS varsity field hockey coach. Though she was planning to resign a couple of years from now, the resignation came early in response to the firing of Genette and Gail Zhongetti.

As mentioned previously, Pappalardi, along with the Scarsdale Athletic department, will be searching for replacement coaches for basketball, ice hockey, girls lacrosse, and field hockey. Spring sports such as baseball, which experienced a coaching change and reached the Section 1 semifinals last season, are starting, in addition to tennis, boys lacrosse, crew, etc. Hopefully, the new coaches will bring new success to the SHS Raiders, and we, as a school, can continue to excel athletically.

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The Current State of the SHS Varsity Coaching Staff