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Wednesday, July 11, 2017: Coaching controversies alive and well in offseason

   Leading off today: The school year may end each June, but the controversies don't.

   School board meetings at opposite ends of the state this week kept alive issues regarding the departures of two popular coaches.

   On Tuesday in Suffern, the new board members were sworn in but it had no effect on the status of boys cross country coach Joe Biddy, who wants to return for a 50th season on the job after having been formally replaced by girls coach Jeff Dempsey in a decision by the previous configuration of the school board earlier this year.

   According to The Journal News, Biddy approached new board President Dr. Amany Messieha Dgheim after the meeting to renew his request for a meeting with the board. In addition, Barbara Biddy asked the board to probe any allegations it has heard levied against her husband -- even offering to pay for any investigative work.

   Messieha Dgheim, the only person to vote against Dempsey replacing Biddy, didn't directly respond but she appeared open to the board sitting down with the coach, remarking, "I wouldn't block any discussions. I'd welcome any discussions."

   As typically happens in such controversies, there has been no word from the school board or administration regarding the reason Biddy was not brought back for the upcoming season. Anonymous letters to The Journal News have criticized Biddy for allegedly directing abusive language toward his athletes, a contention that some of his athletes have repeatedly refuted.

   A day earlier in Amherst, current and former athletes, as well as parents and co-workers spoke for about two hours in support of former Sweet Home track and field coach Brian Lombardo at the school board meeting.

   Lombardo's resignation as a coach and teacher had been approved by the board at a special meeting last month. Again, the circumstances are a mystery to the public.

   According to The Buffalo News, third-year assistant coach Justin Craddock told the audience, which did not include Lombardo, that he was part of the resignation process.


   "I don't know my future and I just applied to cross country and I'm dreading it," Craddock said. "I can't fill those shoes, nobody can. I was questioned about everything that was going on and I heard everything. It didn't sound like a single thing that someone should be forced to resign for. We have a community here of people whose lives where changed, my life was changed."

   Off to college: Recent Sweet Home graduate Nate Davis signed a National Letter of Intent on Monday to run track and field at Indiana University.

   Davis, a four-time Section 6 champion in the 200 meters, won the Federation 200 meters in a photo finish in 2017 and medaled in four events at last month's state meet.

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   Davis was also a member of the Sweet Home volleyball team that won the school's first title since 1994.

   Coaching awards: The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced the state-by-state winn- ers of its fifth annual high school coach of the year award for track & field on Monday.

   The New York award recipients are Northport boys coach Jason Strom and Rush-Henrietta girls coach Mike DeMay.

   Coaching great dies: Fran Angeline, 216-88-7 as a football coach primarily at Union-Endicott, where he built a reputation for being both demanding and encouraging, died Friday in Exton, Pa. He was 83.

   "He was a role model for all of us. He was our second dad, more or less," said Dan Consol, who played for Angeline and coached on his staff. "There's that saying, the older I get the smarter my parents get? Well, my second father was a very knowledgeable man and he utilized everything he could to make us realize that we had that ability to do things, we could get that extra energy knowing that we had gone through such hard workouts."

   He retired after the 1992 season as the state's fifth-winningest coach.

   Two Angeline-coached football teams completed unbeaten seasons atop the New York State Sportswriters Association rankings before the state-tournament era began.

   The 1979 Tigers outscored opponents by a 413-26 margin, allowing just 1,108 yards of total offense in nine games. The 1989 team went 11-0 and averaged 42 points per game.

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