Brookfield Board of Education voted 4-1 on Wednesday, May 23, not to rehire head girls basketball coach Marc Morgan, upsetting some of his players, who have set a protest rally for 11 a.m. Saturday on the green in Brookfield Center.
Board President Kelly Carrier said she could not talk about the decision, which carried with votes from herself, Ronda Bonekovic, Tim Filipovich and Ron Brennan.
“It’s a personnel matter, so we’re not able to discuss it,” she said.
Board member George Economides voted for Morgan.
Carrier, another board member and Superintendent Velina Jo Taylor met with Kristin Drapola, the mom of basketball player Bailey Drapola, Bailey and other basketball players privately following the vote. Whatever explanation was given did not satisfy Kristin Drapola.
“They love him,” she said of team members. “He puts his time in. He’s a family man. He understands women.”
Morgan has led the team for two years, amassing records of 19-5 in his first year, and 18-6 this year, which resulted in an All-American Conference championship and two playoff appearances.
“I’m kind of surprised after the year we had, the numbers of kids we had, with our accomplishments,” Morgan said of the decision.
Bailey set Brookfield’s single-season scoring record for girls with 487 points, and was AAC Player of the Year. Tori Sheehan joined Bailey on the AAC first team, and Dana Sydlowski made the second team.
“I’m not sure the direction they want to go there,” Morgan said.
Drapola said the board was disappointed with participation. Only nine girls came out to play. Morgan said he wondered if that was a factor, but he said he was told when he was hired that turnout was expected to be a problem.
“When I took the job, I was like, ‘I will do what I can to make it better,’” said Morgan, who lives in Niles and teaches physical education and health at Harding High School in Warren.
Drapola said you can’t hold it against Morgan if girls would rather do other things. She noted that he showed his commitment by buying the team’s uniforms, and his wife was always on hand and was known to pack lunches for the girls on occasion.
“There’s another motive,” Drapola said. But, she didn’t know what that motive could be.
The board should have gotten the players’ opinions before making the decision, she said.
“Mark has pushed all those girls,” Drapola said. “She (Bailey) got so much better because of him.”
Morgan said Bailey and another player called him after the school board meeting.
“They were like, ‘What am I supposed to do?’” he said. “I didn’t have an answer for them.”
He said he told the girls, “You know what you need to do to stay in shape for the next coach.”
“I just want them to keep working toward their goals,” Morgan said. “I will still be there for them to help out with that.”
Depending on who the school board hires, Bailey might not play next year, her mother said.
The board rehired boys basketball coach Shawn Hammond.