Bizarre flyby called for Briarcliff baseball coaches to be fired


At a time when criticism of high school coaches is more prevalent than ever, a new low may have been reached on Monday.

In a strange display during Briarcliff’s victory in the Section 1 baseball quarterfinals over Irvington, a small plane was seen flying with a banner that read: “Fire coaches Schrader and Kowalczyk” .

He was referring to Briarcliff head coach John Schrader and his assistant Walter Kowalczyk.

A banner flew over the Briarcliff-Irvington playoff game on Monday, calling for the ouster of Briarcliff head coach John Schrader and his assistant Walter Kowalczyk.

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What made the timing so special was the recent success of the Bears. This is the second year in a row that they have participated in the sectional heats as a seed n ° 1 of class B. Briarcliff finished the regular season at 17-3 and is considered one of the state’s top teams in its category.

“While there are detractors, I think we have the best kids and the best parents in section 1,” Schrader wrote to Journal News / “I wouldn’t want to train in another district.… I love it here.”

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Justin Jaye, owner of Fly Signs Aerial Advertising, said a woman paid her business $ 1,250 to have the sign fly over Briarcliff High School for 30 minutes. The panel was due to be deployed last Friday, he said, but the weather postponed the flyby until Monday.

Jaye did not want to identify the woman, but said the plane took off from Brookhaven, Long Island. She contacted him a few weeks ago about the sign, he said. She did not request any further overflights, he said.

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These type of panel requests are common, Jaye said, adding that at least once a month his company receives orders for similar panels from disgruntled sports fans.

“Yesterday’s overview helped highlight what can happen when adults lose sight of sports in high school,” Briarcliff Schools Principal Jim Kaishian told Journal News / in a report. -mail Tuesday morning. “In an attempt to promote self-interest, some adults become willing conspirators in the theft of joy from youth sports programs.

“In time, I’m sure it will be known who was in charge. Until then, our goal remains to raise confident, capable and happy young men and women – our sports program is just an extension of this. broader educational mission. “

After the flyby, the Bears knocked out Irvington with a 13-0 victory, evoking the rule of leniency after five innings. They will host fifth seed Putnam Valley on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the semifinals.

“Rather than saddened by the events of yesterday, I was encouraged by the outcome of yesterday,” Kaishian said. “The varsity baseball program responded to a challenge that surely would have shattered a smaller organization. In their 13-0 victory, our student-athletes demonstrated superior skill and preparation. determination. How’s that for a lesson in life? “

This is Schrader’s fourth season as a head coach after having been an assistant for the previous 25 years.

“It just shows how incredibly difficult it is to be a successful coach at this level,” John Jay athletic director Chris McCarthy, Section 1 baseball committee co-chair, told Journal News / . “It just shows you that no matter how well you do, you rub someone the wrong way, and that could be a result. You have to have pretty thick skin if you want to train these days. is miserable, but that’s just another snapshot of what it’s like to be in the coaching world these days. “

McCarthy said someone texted him on Monday about the flyby, a tactic he doesn’t recall seeing before.

“It was like you were laughing at me,” he said. “It’s definitely an interesting way to share your concerns about a program. “

It was creative and at least passive aggressive, said McCarthy, which is better than an aggressive fight between a coach and someone with a bone to choose from.

“Funny in some ways, but quite sad in others,” he said, adding that there are other ways to express a problem with a coach, such as contacting a sporting director or the team supervisor. ‘coach.

Briarcliff baseball coach John Schrader speaks to a referee as Keio defeats Briarcliff 2-0 in the Class B baseball game at Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona on Saturday May 28, 2016.

Regarding the specific circumstances of any problem at Briarcliff, McCarthy said, “I don’t know anything about the situation there. It’s certainly none of my business.”

McCarthy said he tells his coaches not to worry about what parents or other people think about the way they coach their teams and to remember why they coach.

“If you let this stuff really get to you, you’ll never want to train again,” he said.

McCarthy said he hoped the flyby wouldn’t take away from player achievements and the playoffs.

“I hope it will bring the kids closer to the coach,” he said.

Twitter: @vzmercogliano


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