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Letter to the Editor: Coach Galioto Deserved Better

Resident expresses outrage about the recent dismissal of varsity softball Coach James Galioto.

To Concerned West Orange Community Members:

As a parent of two daughters that played varsity softball under Coach James Galioto, I find it outrageous that he was inexplicably not recommended and rehired as head softball coach at West Orange High School. He was notified of his termination on Christmas Eve. Happy Holidays!

He has worked for many years building a losing program into a consistently winning one, rebuilding the middle school program, providing winter clinics for elementary students, and assisting in coaching fall and summer travel team activities for his players. He was also named Essex County Coach of the Year recently.

This move is outrageous and irresponsible. Were his players and their parents consulted on this decision? Am I missing something? As a former director of athletics and an assistant superintendent in another district, this callous and blindsided move makes no sense. With true leadership and character, Coach Galioto has proven to be an excellent coach who has for many years mentored and guided his players with dedicated compassion and commitment.

This decision needs to be revisited by the West Orange Board of Education. All parties involved in the coach’s dismissal need to be called to task. We need an explanation. This is no way to run a school district terminating a coach who has brought respect, recognition, and honor to this proud community.

Dr. Robert H. Rich
West Orange, NJ

wohopeful December 29, 2012 at 11:38 AM
This is yet another example of the WOBOE acting upon their personal agendas and not for the good of the district. We need to hold them accountable by not re-electing these people and allowing them to further their own personal agendas.
Molly Teixeira December 29, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Dr. Robert H. Rich December 29, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Wohopeful, Board President Laura Lab did quickly and graciously respond to my e-mail outlining my concerns. The Board had not yet been approached by the West Orange Superintendent and High School Administration about replacing Coach Galioto. At this point, it is unfair to place the blame on the Board members and their personal agendas. Dr. Robert H. Rich
Gary Englert December 30, 2012 at 04:01 PM
More specifically, not having done so in some time and on the recommendation of the Superintendent, the Board of Education decided to open all spring sport coaching positions and seek applicants for them...which is not necessarily a bad thing. Thus far, the Board has not entertained hiring anyone for any position. My guess is that whatever communication Coach Galioto received was along the lines that his reappointment is pending a review of other candidates and formal action by the Board of Education.
Dr. Robert H. Rich December 31, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Gary, I was surprised to learn that reposting all coaching positions was not the practice in West Orange. This is a routine process in most school districts. However, neither one of us know the dynamics here and whether all coaches received the same letter regarding the reopening of all positions. Both of us will learn the truth as this plays out with the Board. I hope your assessment is correct. Happy New Year!
Dr. Robert H. Rich December 31, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Gary, On another note, considering your active role in responding to many important issues related to the issues in West Orange, I would ask you to not to take my word alone as well as my daughters regarding the rehiring of Coach Galioto. Please investigate them yourself. I am certain that you have many contacts in this community that have an insight into this issue. I still assert that there is something rotten in Denmark--I mean West Orange. If validated, I would ask you to join my daughter in signing on to the petition posted below to rehire Coach Galioto. Thank you for your consideration.
Gary Englert December 31, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Dr. Rich: Not having seen whatever communication was sent to the current coaches individually, or enmass, I can't comment on the contents but, the Board's decision to post all the positions was publicized. What has apparently occurred is this action being misconstrued as the coaches having been fired, which is surely not the case. I'm sure it will all be sorted out in due course and I trust that cooler heads will prevail. By the way, you daughter did a stellar job taping, producing and editing our annual Memorial Day ceremony for re-broadcast on TV36. Gary R. Englert
Gary Englert December 31, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Dr. Rich: While I have no reason to doubt either yours or your daughter's veracity and/or assessment of Coach Galioto's attributes, I remain somewhat confused. Given you own personal, professional experience (and acknowledgement that regularly posting coaching positions is standard operating procedure in most school districts) and having communicated directly with Mrs. Lab, why do you still believe something is "rotten in West Orange?" Absent any evidence to the contrary, it would simply appear that (as publicly announced) the Board is posting all spring sport coaching positions and seeking applicants, with the current coaches having been notified (by letter?) of this action. I'm sure their applications for reappointment (if submitted) will be duly considered and would expect that Coach Galioto's would be among them. As it stands, the Superintendent has not brought a recommendation to hire/appoint anyone for the subject positions and it appear to be a process in its infancy, no? Gary R. Englert
freddy111 January 03, 2013 at 03:18 AM
Gary, You say it is surely not the case that the coaches have been fired. What do you call getting a letter on Christmas Eve saying thank you for interviewing but we have found a more qualified candidate good luck in the future. Also, its not a boe member with an agenda its an AD with an agenda being allowed to carry it out by the boe. Again, the spring coaches that were fired did not go to the boe meeting to support the AD and the coaches that were retained did go to the board for him. I said this on another site, the baseball coach goes 7-17 this past year, has gotten upset in the county tournament by lower seeded teams twice in the past several years and he keeps his job. When Galioto took over the softball it was an average team at best. Over the course of his career he has turned the softball team into an above average team, proven by the fact that the team was moved up to the A division in the conference. He was awarded county coach of the year by the star ledger and his team played in the game of the year. You would think that he would be replaced by a highly recognized coach in essex county softball. No, he is being replaced by a coach that coach Liberty MS for two years. Is anyone really going to buy the fact she is more qualified. If it is not apparent to anyone that Galioto is being railroaded out of this job you are crazy. Hopefully the boe just does not rubber stamp this hire and really looks into how things are being run.
Gary Englert January 03, 2013 at 11:25 AM
Freddy111: While the Board of Ed has entertained no proposals to hire any new coaches, you claim to know the precise content of a "termination" letter a current coach received, who has been selected to replace him and the mindset of an Athletic Director you're clearly no fan of. If the rest of us had such detailed information, we might be motivated to pick up a banner and join this cause but, we simply do not...and trying to rally support anonymously isn't the way to do it.
Emily January 04, 2013 at 05:23 AM
As a previous player of Galioto's, we were in fact informed by him that he had re-interviewed for the job and then received a letter of his termination on Christmas Eve. The girls on the current team were then notified of their new coach after emailing the athletic director. So yes, the Board of Ed has entertained proposals to hire a new coach, as a new coach as already been hired. The injustice needed to be heard, especially with the success that Coach Jamie Galioto has had.
Gary Englert January 04, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Emily: In order for the Board of Education to "entertain the hiriing of a coach," the matter must be brought before it as a meeting agenda item proposed and supported by the Superintnendent. So far as I can tell, there has been no such matter before the Board, let alone publicly voted on, during its last two meetings. Further, as the fact that all spring coaching positions would be posted and opened to applicants was only announced in late November, I'd be very much surprised if the application/interiew process has been completed and that decisions have been made. What surely hasn't happened is anyone having been formally hired as, again, that requires a public vote by the Board.
Dr. Robert H. Rich January 04, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Gary, I know that ultimately the Board has to approve all coaching recommendations, and it has the final word on this issue. However, for a successful and honored coach to receive a letter from the Athletic Department on Christmas Eve saying that he is not being recommended because he is less qualified is ridiculous and insulting. The Superintendent and Board need to thoroughly investigate the reasons as well as motivation for any recommended coaching change. We will see how this plays out. On another note, thanks for praising my daughter Molly's work on the annual Memorial Day ceremony. Dr. Robert H. Rich
Gary Englert January 04, 2013 at 11:29 PM
Dr. Rich: Having now spoken to Mrs. Lab, I'm now better able to comment on this entire matter and what has and hasn't happened. Part and parcel of the directives given Mr. O'Neill when he came on board as the interim Superintendent was to review operations and institute established best practices as necessary; one area he has addressed was posting coaching positions (troutinely done annually in other districts), which had not been done in some time. As a former coach and NJISAA board member, this is an area Mr. O'Neill has considerable experience in and the first of those being opened to applicants were for spring sports, with a deadline of December 18th. Applicants were interviewed and a consensus reached between the Superintendent, the Principal and the Athletic Director as to whom they would present to the Board as their hiring recommendations. Both the successful applicants and those not chosen were notified, by letter, on the last business day before the holiday break; Friday, December 21st. Of consequence, and with no malice, the notifications were received by all on December 24th. Had it been up to me, I might have handled the notification to a long-time incumbent differently. I'm sure you understand matters of personnel are handled confidentially and while one might infer what they will not having been selected, I rather doubt anyone was denigrated in the process...with those selected receiving votes from at least 2/3 of the three-man panel.
Gary Englert January 04, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Finally, while the attachment referenced (#4) is not posted with the upcoming January 7, 2013 Board of Education Meeting Agenda, it appears recommendations for hiring coaches for spring sports programs will be presented for a vote...which will be the first time the Board will be addressing the matter.
john anthony prignano January 08, 2013 at 04:13 AM
Lou Mignone, the West Orange Girls Soccer coach received the Bob McNulty Award. the recipient of this award represents the ideals and values of coaching as outlined by US Soccer . Mignone has also been a West Orange Police Officer for more than 20 years { base salary and longevity pay $105,000+ } He is also an adjunct professor at Union County College .He also does a lot of volunteer work . First , I have to think he has been given a waiver by the Police Department so he doesn't have to work hours that conflict with his coaching duties. Officers laid off, forced overtime, and he gets a waiver..The West Orange Girls Soccer Team's 2012 record was 2 - 17 - 2. First, how effective can someone be who works and volunteers as many hours as he does. Second, if Galioto's won - lost record is a big factor, perhaps the most important factor, in retaining him , shouldn't Officer Mignone's record have the opposite effect? Is a police officer/ adjunct professor/girl's soccer coach/ active volunteer+ capable of giving everyone involved his very best?


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