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Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019: New Rochelle's DiRienzo reassigned days before playoffs

   Leading off today: New Rochelle Superintendent Laura Feijoo refused Thursday to discuss specifics behind the abrupt reassignment of head football coach Lou DiRienzo days before a NYSPHSAA playoff game.

   "I really can't discuss any of the circumstances," she said, saying it was for the employee's protection.

   Feijoo said the purpose of the news conference was to let the community know "we absolutely have children's best interests" at heart. She said the investigation is ongoing and that she was unsure whether the investigation will be wrapped up before Saturday's state quarterfinal contest for the five-time defending Section 1 champions and 2018 state Class AA runner-up.

   A tweet from the New Rochelle Football Parent Association said DiRienzo "helped a student in distress to leave school with her parent. Instead of quietly investigating the issue, as has forever been the practice at NRHS, Superintendent Feijoo chose to defame our coach and suspend him from teaching and coaching -- and announce that fact to the world as though he was a criminal."

   DiRienzo told The Journal News he wouldn't comment on specifics at this time. "My focus is on these kids and the focus is on the game. Nothing in my personal life will ever affect their preparation for a game."

   DiRienzo was not at practice Wednesday. In his absence, practices are being run by the assistant coaches Greg Foster, Ray Rhett and Rich Tassello.

   It was disclosed Wednesday that he had been removed from coaching and teaching assignments. Feijoo said the coach is not allowed in school but will continue to be paid.

   The superintendent tried to address DiRienzo's supporters but faced a barrage of shouts and questions. Former NFL player Ray Rice, a football assistant at the school, was among those speaking out.

   "I know what happened. You know what happened," Rice told Feijoo, asking her whether DiRienzo "deserved public humiliation" for this situation.


   Field hockey change: The venue and some of the game times for the weekend's New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association field hockey final fours in Western New York have been changed.

   Semifinals and finals have been moved from Williamsville North to the artificial turf field at Alden High because the early-week storm left the artificial turf fields at Williamsville North unplayable.

   Induction class announced: The Basketball Coaches Association of New York will add 13 new members to the state basketball hall of fame in March, BCANY has announced.

   Those being honored are:

    • Chris Agostino, who led teams to NYSPHSAA and Federation championships and has averaged 14 wins a season while running programs at Oyster Bay, Harborfields and Elmont.

    • Larry Behm, whose Onondaga teams won 335 games and five Section 3 titles in 24 seasons.

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  •     • Starling Bryant of Tradition and East Highs in Buffalo, where he has won 353 games in 23 seasons, captured 14 sectional crowns and reached NYSPHSAA final fours six times, winning it all four times.

        • Chris Cardon, a 400-game winner at Irondequoit with three Section 5 titles.

        • Lou DeMello, being inducted in the contributor category following a career that included coaching at Rice High in New York City's CHSAA. He's served as director of the famed Slam Dunk Tournament and operated numerous clinics and showcase events.

        • Todd Jamison, a 300-game winner at Nazareth Regional in New York City with a pair of CHSAA City Championships.

        • Carl Johnson, winner of more than 300 games and four NYSPHSAA crowns in 27 seasons at Bridgehampton.

        • David Lieber of Friends Seminary, who guided his teams to over 425 wins in the NYSAIS in 29 years.

        • Bob Piano, whose six-decade career in the sport included stints at St. Raymond's, Queensborough CC, Lehman College, Cairo-Durham High and Columbia-Greene CC.

        • Jack Purificato, Section 5 boys basketball chairman for 19 years and part of the sectional basketball committee for 33 seasons.

        • Frank Satalin, a coach at St. Patrick's, St. Lucy's and St. John the Baptist in the former Syracuse Catholic League from 1937-69.

        • James Walker, a 321-game winner at Lewiston-Porter and veteran Section 6 administrator -- including the basketball chairman for 21 years.

        • Bill Varno, a life member of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials and past president of the New York State Basketball Officials Association..

       Trial and terror: There was an injury in a New Jersey high school baseball game seemingly a lifetime ago. It led to a lawsuit that was dragged out seemingly forever and culminated in a trial that could have forever changed high school and youth sports coaching -- for the worse.

       That's all I'll say about here because you really need to take 15 minutes and read the amazing account of the trial and what led up to it as told by

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