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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

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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