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Public harassment forces N.Y. prep basketball coach to resign

March 26, 2019 / BasketballCoaching
A New York high school basketball coach, just weeks removed from his team’s trip to the state finals, announced he will step down over public harassment.

Sal Constantino this week announced his resignation as head coach of the Niagara Falls High School boys basketball team. Constantino told WKBW in Buffalo that the verbal attacks from those outside the school became too much to handle, especially when they would come in the presence of his 11-year-old son. He plans to remain at the school as a teacher.

Constantino’s Wolverines advanced to the Class AA semifinals this season, where his team narrowly lost to West Genesee, 59-57. WKBW called Constantino one of the most successful coaches in Niagara Falls High School history, and his team this season ranked among the top 20 in the state. The Wolverines finished the season with a 21-4 record.

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That wasn’t enough to silence his critics. Constantino didn’t offer specifics, but he did say that winning didn’t do anything to ward off negative comments.

From WKBW:

Niagara Falls City Schools Superintendent Mark Laurrie said it was a “sad day” for the school and the kids.

“Everyone thinks their child is going to the NBA, NHL or NFL and that is very, very, very rare,” added the superintendent.

Laurrie said he was upset with those who harassed the coach for having a wrong perspective on the importance of high school sports.

“I wish they were as passionate about test scores and graduation rates as they are about high school sports,” added Laurrie.

We see this happen every year, and most times players’ parents are the cause. A Texas high school volleyball coach stepped down in January after parents constantly pressed her to get their children more playing time. Weeks before that, a Minnesota high school basketball coach resigned, citing constant abuse from parents.

Problems with abusive sports parents consistently ranks among the top concerns in our coaches and athletic directors polls. Despite recurring problems, schools struggle finding effective strategies to keep parents in line.

Read more from WKBW in Buffalo.


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Rusty Lee

I’ve always wonder what would happen if a coach that is being harassed went to the harassing parent’s job and did the same harrassment at the parent’s work place? I feel sure the coach would be escorted off the premises or arrested. Maybe that is a solution for harassing a coach at an Athletic event. Additional: I found it interesting the the Superintendent stated the coach was good. Are you telling me if a Superintendent can comment on a coach’s quiting and reason, he (Superintendent doesn’t have enough authority to ban harassing parents.

Mike Marciano

As an AD, we have to have the support of our boss. It seems in this case, the coach did. We have to be able to stand behind our coaches and not have to deal with this kind of treatment. If the desired parent behavior is expressed at open house and then pre-season meetings by the AD, there is no reason the admin should not have been more supportive throughout the season and showed the coach they had their back.